Indian National Anthem No Longer Mandatory in Cinemas, says Supreme Court

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Reversing a 2016 order, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said playing the Indian national anthem in cinema halls was not mandatory. The government had asked the apex court to make the move optional till the a panel decides a course on the move.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra left it to the discretion of cinema hall owners to take a call. In case it is played before screening of films, moviegoers will have to show respect, the Bench said. Standing up would be taken as showing proper respect, it clarified.
The Bench asked the government’s inter-ministerial committee to take a comprehensive decision on the changes needed in laws relating to the national anthem.

Prior to the 2016 Supreme Court ruling, there was no uniform law in India regarding the anthem and the 29 states had their own laws on the issue.

The ruling sparked concern that people could be targeted for not “respecting” the national anthem.

MHA panel formed 

With the SC asking the Centre to recommend steps related to playing of the national anthem in cinema halls and public places, the Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a 12-member inter-ministerial committee. The panel has been asked to submit its report within six months. BR Sharma, Special Secretary, MHA, is “most likely” to head the panel, whose first meeting was scheduled for January 19.

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