SC Modifies Order, Now National Anthem not Mandatory in Cinemas

SC Modifies Order, Now National Anthem not Mandatory in Cinemas

The committee will take a final call on the playing of the national anthem in cinema halls and public places and recommend, if needed, changes in existing laws.

The new decision, Indian news outlets reported, allows theatres to choose whether to play the national anthem.

Enumerating the relevant part of the 2012 order, the court said there were three things that these guidelines highlight - one, the national anthem is a salutation to motherhood, second, there can not be an exhaustive list of occasions and third, decorum must be maintained.

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.

The PIL had sought directions to the government to ensure the anthem was played in all cinemas, a protocol fixed for its singing and norms that specified what constituted disrespect and abuse of the song. The Order came in response to a petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in September 2016. Members of a bench had questioned the logic behind the mandatory order. Justice D Y Chandrachud, one of the judges on the bench, was especially vocal in his criticism of the Order, saying that people need not wear their patriotism "on their sleeves".

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The Central Government finally responded to this yesterday, on 8 January 2018.

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. This came as surprise to many, especially considering the Centre's earlier stance on the matter.

The SC had not expected that its order to judicially instil patriotism and nationalism among movie-goers could lead to vigilantism with instances where even the old and invalid were forced to stand up in cinema halls.

Time for some cheer amidst belligerent nationalism in 2018?

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