It is no longer mandatory to play National Anthem in the cinema halls before the screening of the films, Supreme Court of India directed today. Taking a complete U-turn from its earlier stand, the central government had asked the SC to put its directive mandating playing of National Anthem in the cinema halls, on hold. An affidavit was filed by Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday urging the apex court to put a pause on its December 2016 order. The case was presented before the SC this morning and the earlier decree was modified after the court considered the central government's request in the matter. The affidavit filed by an undersecretary of the MoHA says, "The court may consider restoration of status quo ante...", that is, restoration of the court's stand before the order in 2016. Meanwhile, the government has set up a committee looking into the matter. According to the official sources, the SC had asked the government to use its disposition on the formation of the special committee. This committee comprises of members from various ministries including law, defence, home affairs, external affairs, women and child development, etc. The committee will submit its report and suggestions within six months. The inter-ministerial representatives will discuss the pros and cons along with the circumstances in which the national anthem must be played in a cinema hall. It will then lay out the guidelines so that proper decorum is maintained while the anthem is sung. Earlier, in 2016, Supreme Court had made the playing of National Anthem before the screening of the films in the cinema halls compulsory. SC's orders had drawn serious flack from the liberal fronts, who had called the move 'pop nationalism'. They had advocated the rights and conditions of handicapped and sick. The court had, then, allowed the specially abled and sick to sit through the rendition. In October 2017, there were cases of audience and cine-viewers being dubbed as 'anti-national' if they did not stand during the national anthem. The court had expressed its concerns regarding the issue. Justice DY Chandrachud had commented sitting alongside CJI Dipak Misra, "People go out for a movie for entertainment. Sometimes, they go in their shorts. Next, we may have to say they can't wear shorts. Where do you draw the line at moral policing?"
news courtesy: ians