Reconsider your order on national anthem in cinema halls, Government tells Supreme Court

The Supreme Court in its November 30, 2016, order, directed all the 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.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi | Updated: January 9, 2018 5:01 pm
national anthem, cinema halls, supreme court The government has also filed an affidavit in the court, requesting the apex authority to continue the 2016 interim order in the meantime. Express Photo/Javed Raja

Urging the Supreme Court to reconsider its order making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of films, the Centre Monday said an inter-ministerial committee is being asked to look into the matter and the government will take a call once the committee submits its recommendations in six months.

This has been conveyed to the Supreme Court in an affidavit filed by Deepak Kumar, Under Secretary in the Union Home Ministry. The national anthem matter is due for hearing Tuesday before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The affidavit said the court “may consider” restoring the position that existed prior to November 30, 2016 when a bench of Justices Dipak Misra — before his elevation as CJI — and Amitava Roy asked cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before the screening of films and directed that all present must “stand up in respect” till the anthem concludes to “instil” a “sense of committed patriotism and nationalism”.

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The 2016 order led to a debate and a film society approached the court, seeking recall of its order. During a hearing in October 2017, the bench of Chief Justice Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the Centre to take a call on regulating the playing of national anthem in public places, and also asked it to come out with rules.

The affidavit, filed in response to this direction, said “the framing of guidelines describing circumstances and occasions on which the National Anthem is to be played or sung, and observance of proper decorum on such occasions, require extensive consultations with various ministries. It is submitted that the government has decided to constitute an inter-ministerial committee 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”.

The committee, it said, “has to consider wide-ranging issues relating to the National Anthem and has to have extensive discussions” and “will give its recommendations in this regard in six months time from the date of its constitution”.

The affidavit said the committee “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”.

The government told the court that till then, it may consider restoring the position that existed prior to the November 2016 order when it was not mandatory for movie halls to play the national anthem.

“This Hon’ble Court may consider the restoration of status quo ante till then, i.e. restoration of the position as it stood before the order passed by this Hon’ble Court on November 30, 2016 with regard to direction ‘d’ in the said order to the extent that it mandates the playing of the National Anthem in all cinemas before the feature film starts,” it said.

During the October 2017 hearing, Justice Chandrachud had hinted at modifying the 2016 order, observing “why do people have to wear their patriotism on their sleeve?… People go to a movie theatre for undiluted entertainment. Society needs that entertainment”.

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  1. Dominic Pullen
    Jan 9, 2018 at 9:40 am
    It is good sign that both Supreme Court and Government have started correcting their mistakes by dropping unnecessary restrictions, thanks to the elections next year. Maybe, they have realized that rules should be for the people not people for the rules. Similarly, country should be for the people not people for the country. Will they reimpose the restrictions once they are back to power in 2019 elections? I leave it to the people.
    1. Ajit Kumar Das
      Jan 9, 2018 at 9:05 am
      Patriotism can not be forced from outside. It must come from within spontaneously.
      1. Manoj
        Jan 9, 2018 at 7:08 am
        What a relief! Thanks to the spark of wisdom that has prevailed over the lack of collective wisdom that saw the erroneous promulgation of the anthem at a venue of entertainment.
        1. Sahib Singh
          Jan 9, 2018 at 12:45 am
          What a joke! This is the supreme court that BJP spokespersons like Sambit Patra wants people of India to respect? What next? Nation Anthem before you go to the toilet? or take pee? Ridiculous. Aurangzabian thinking of Hindu extremists.
          1. Siva C
            Jan 9, 2018 at 8:12 am
            What has BJP gotta do with this? It was the court all the while.
          2. Suhas Gha
            Jan 8, 2018 at 10:53 pm
            Both SC and administration aremaking a joke of national anthom. Why is it essential to sing national anthom in cinema halls. Just because couple of judges who as usual want to have a relook at their decision and are expert in tossing ball to center and central government is doing stupid things by making laws on whims of SC judge. Can any one tell me how singing a national anthoms in cinema halls or not singing same proves ones patriotism. Absolute humbug idea. But no one can call it humbug It is essential for sc to prove how forcefully singing national anthom at cinema halls proves on ones patriotism. But SC does not have logical answer abd order is based on whim of individual judge,. Apply some brain to the issue.
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