Centre to review rules on anthem

Panel will frame rules on national anthem in theatres and public space Centre tells Supreme Court

In a change of stand, the Centre today suggested the Supreme Court to modify its earlier order making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of a feature film.

The matter is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday.

"The aforesaid committee has been constituted to look into all aspects relating to playing or singing of national anthem". You can amend it and say where to play the national anthem and where it can't be done. A final call can be taken on the issue once a ministerial panel comes up with its guidelines on this, the government has said.

The affidavit said that the Inter-Ministerial Committee, which will be headed by the Additional Secretary (Border Management) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, has been set up by an order on December 5.

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The court had justified the playing of the anthem in cinema halls, seeing it as an opportunity for the public to express their "love for the motherland".

The court was hearing a PIL by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, which was the basis for the November 2016 order, seeking mandatory playing of the national anthem in cinema halls before every screening and for everyone in the audience to show respect by standing up. "The National Anthem is sung at various places like schools, public functions, events etc".

In an affidavit submitted to the apex court on Monday, the Centre also urged the court to continue implementation of 2016 order in the meantime. "The court had just read the law", she said, adding that people living in the country must abide by the law of the land.

The Kodungalloor Film Society from Kerala had argued for the 2016 order to be withdrawn in the Supreme Court in October 2017. He had observed that these days, "the anthem is played during matches, tournaments and even Olympics where half of the crowd does not understand its meaning".

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