The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its order that made it mandatory to play the national anthem in cinema halls, saying the playing of the anthem must be left to the discretion of cinema owners. The court modified its 2016 order a day after the government said a final call can be taken on the issue once a ministerial panel comes up with its guidelines on the same.
However the apex court has ruled that patrons must show respect in case the cinema plays the anthem. The SC’s earlier order emphasised that a person who stands up for the National Anthem shows proper respect. On November 30, 2016, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra, before he became the Chief Justice of India, directed that “all cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.”
The Centre had, on Monday, asked the Supreme Court to take back the order, saying an inter-ministerial committee had been formed for framing guidelines on “all aspects relating to the playing and singing of the National Anthem". The guidelines would require extensive consultations and would require six months' time, the government said. Once the recommendations are ready, the government would issue the requisite notification or circular.
The Supreme Court now awaits the last word of the government on the issue. The Court also closed a few other cases pertaining to the National Anthem, stating that the inter-ministerial committee will hear them. The inter-ministerial committee, which was formed on December 5, is yet to release its recommendations.