No more national anthem in cinema halls. SC recalls its 2016 order

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In its order on November 30, 2016, the Supreme Court had 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.

The apex court said that playing of national anthem optional in cinema halls before commencement of a movie.

"The court may consider restoration of status quo ante...", an affidavit, filed by an under-secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said, according to The Economic Times.

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The court order that came more than a year ago also asked people to stand up when the anthem was played, as a show of respect.

The matter meanwhile, is set to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The government said it has made a decision to constitute an inter-ministerial committee headed by Additional Secretary (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs, with representatives from various other ministries, including the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Culture, Woman and Child Development and Parliamentary Affairs.

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The Kodungalloor Film Society from Kerala had argued for the 2016 order to be withdrawn in the Supreme Court in October 2017. The Union govt. told the Supreme Court that it is not mandatory to play National Anthem in theatres anymore. "The government may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required", said the affidavit.

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

Justice DY Chandrachud said that "one need not wear patriotism on his sleeve" and people went to the movie hall for undiluted entertainment.

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In the last hearing the court had questioned the government why they do not change the rules and the pertinent law when they had been in favour of a new regime as far as playing of the National Anthem is concerned.

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