The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its November 2016 order stating that it is now not mandatory to play the National Anthem before a film is screened in cinema halls across the country. Today’s order comes after the government on Monday filed an affidavit asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its order making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of films and that it was setting up a inter-ministerial committee to look at any modifications in the existing rules — Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, if necessary.
Allowing the request, the apex court, however, emphasised that citizens should show respect to the National Anthem and that the committee should look into all aspects. The government also allowed petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey to take up his prayers with the committee. The top court also said that its earlier order granting an exemption to the disabled from standing in cinema halls during National Anthem shall continue to remain in force.
The Supreme Court, in its November 30, 2016, order, had directed all cinema halls across the country to play the National Anthem before the screening of films and that all present must “stand up in respect” till the anthem ended. Also Read | SC revises National Anthem order – All your questions answered
The government on Monday also told the Supreme Court that it will set up an inter-ministerial committee that “has been constituted to look into all aspects relating to the singing or playing of the National Anthem” and on receiving its recommendations, “the government may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required”.
According to the affidavit, the committee will be headed by Additional Secretary (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs, with representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of School Education and Literacy and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability.