SC says playing of national anthem in cinemas optional

The Supreme Court today made the playing of national anthem in cinema halls before screening of movies optional.

The apex court modified its November 30, 2016, order by which it had made 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 national anthem in the cinemas.

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 will remain in force till the committee takes a decision.

The top court accepted the government's affidavit which said that the 12-member panel has 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 will submit its report within six months.

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