Theatres do not have to play Indian anthem

Theatres do not have to play Indian anthem

Amending its order that had been in force for a little over a year, the Supreme Court made it optional on Tuesday for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening a film and spared moviegoers of a compulsory display of patriotism by having to stand up.

Bench says it's up to hall owners, people will have to show respect by standing in case it is played.

It was November 30, 2016 had when the Supreme Court had directed all the movie halls and theatres in the country to play the national anthem "Jana Mana Gana" before the start of a movie, play as well as other programmes.

Under the modified order, it will now be up to cinema hall owners whether or not to play the national anthem.

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"In the name of entertainment, the National Anthem somewhere compromised its dignity, I respect the decision of the Supreme Court, because this decision will honor the National Anthem."

". Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh had issued notifications prior to November 30, 2016, making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the anthem.

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The modification will be in place till the Union government takes a final decision on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee on the occasions, circumstances and events for the solemn rendering of the national anthem.

The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act states: "Whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Jana Gana Mana or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both".

A 12-member inter-ministerial committee set up by the Centre would come up with an extensive anthem code clearly listing out the dos and the don'ts, the court said, disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

"We respect the decision because it is important to keep the dignity of our National Anthem". The court revoked its earlier order after multiple cases of vigilante patriotism were reported.

The petitioner had said the 1971 act did not define what constituted disrespecting the national flag. Justice DY Chandrachud, who was on the bench, observed that there was no need for an Indian to "wear his patriotism on his sleeves".

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