Play­ing of an­them in cine­mas op­tional: SC

Millennium Post - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tues­day made the play­ing of the na­tional an­them in cin­ema halls be­fore the screen­ing of movies op­tional, mod­i­fy­ing its ear­lier order.

The apex court mod­i­fied its Novem­ber 30, 2016, order by which it had made the play­ing of the an­them manda­tory in cin­ema halls be­fore the screen­ing of a film.

A bench headed by Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra said a 12-mem­ber in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee, set up by the Cen­tre, would take a fi­nal call on the play­ing of the na­tional an­them in the cine­mas.

The Cen­tre’s de­ci­sion had come af­ter the top court had in Oc­to­ber last year ob­served that the peo­ple “could not be forced to carry pa­tri­o­tism on their sleeves” and it can­not be as­sumed that if a per­son does not stand up for the na­tional an­them, he or she is “less pa­tri­otic”.

Ob­serv­ing that the so­ci­ety did not need “moral polic­ing”, the court had then said that next time, “the govern­ment will want peo­ple to stop wear­ing T-shirts and shorts to cine­mas say­ing this would dis­re­spect the na­tional an­them.”

The bench, also com­pris­ing Jus­tices A M Khan­wilkar and D Y Chan­drachud, said the com­mit­tee should com­pre­hen­sively look into all the as­pects re­lat­ing to the play­ing of na­tional an­them and al­lowed the pe­ti­tion­ers to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions be­fore the panel.

The bench, while dis­pos­ing of the pe­ti­tions pend­ing be­fore it, made it clear that the ex­emp­tion granted ear­lier to dis­abled per­sons from stand­ing in the cin­ema halls when the na­tional an­them is be­ing played, shall re­main in force till the com­mit­tee takes a de­ci­sion.

The top court ac­cepted the govern­ment’s af­fi­davit which said the 12-mem­ber panel had been set up to sug­gest changes in the 1971 Pre­ven­tion of In­sults to Na­tional Hon­our Act.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral K K Venu­gopal told the bench that the com­mit­tee would sub­mit its re­port within six months.

The Cen­tre had Mon­day told the apex court that an in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee had been set up as ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tions were needed for framing of guide­lines de­scrib­ing the cir­cum­stances and oc­ca­sions on which the na­tional an­them is to be played or sung and ob­ser­vance of proper deco­rum on such oc­ca­sions.

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