National Anthem in cinema halls: Govt forms panel to review rule

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It also ordered that the national flag be shown on screen when the anthem is being played.

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.

It said the committee has to consider a wide range of issues relating to the national anthem, and have extensive discussions with various ministries.

On November 30, 2016, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra, before he became the CJI, had directed that "all cinema halls shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present are obliged to stand to show respect". A final call can be taken on the issue once a ministerial panel comes up with its guidelines on this, the government has said.

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Questioning its own order, the bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, observed that the court was inclined to do away with the mandatory direction, leaving the discretion with the cinema halls to decide.

The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday.

The government has also filed an affidavit in the court, requesting the apex authority to continue the 2016 interim order in the meantime.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Kodungalloor Film Society, Kerala, to recall the order.

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The Centre has now made its stance clear in response to the Supreme Court's earlier order dated, October 23, 2017.

Representing the Centre, Attorney-General KK Venugopal had told the court that India was a diverse country and the National Anthem needed to be played in the cinema halls to bring in uniformity.

The Supreme Court's bench, which had Chief Justice Deepak Misra in it, had asked the Centre in October past year to consider amending the rules for regulating playing of the national anthem in the theatres.

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