No need for Anthem in cinemas: Centre to Supreme Court

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The Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday informed the Supreme Court via an affidavit that playout of National Anthem in cinema halls should not be made mandatory for the time being, and asked for time for framing concrete rules. This was being to enhance respect for the National Anthem he also said.

The Supreme Court had on November 30, 2016, made it mandatory for movie halls to play the national anthem before the screening of movies. "It is submitted that the government has chose to constitute an inter-ministerial committee headed by additional secretary, MHA with representatives from ministries of defence, external affairs, culture, women and child development, parliamentary affairs, information and broadcasting, minority affairs, legal affairs, HRD", Centre said in its affidavit. The inter-ministerial committee will take at least six months to study all aspects relating to signing and screening of national anthem and the manner of respect due to it and give recommendations to the Centre.

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The government has now told the Court that pending the recommendations by the Committee, this direction could be suspended. The bench hearing the issue is being headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that it has chose to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to frame guidelines for occasions on which the national anthem is to be played or sung in movie halls and theatres. Chandrachud had said then, adding that people go to movie halls for "undiluted entertainment".

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Further, the Supreme Court has requested the Centre to consider amending the rules to regulate the playing of the National Anthem before a film. Opposing a recall of the 30 November 2016 order, Venugopal said it should be left open to the government to take a call on whether the anthem should be played in theatres and whether people should stand up for it. He had observed that these days, "the anthem is played during matches, tournaments and even Olympics where half of the crowd does not understand its meaning".

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