New Delhi, Jan 08, 2018 : In a dramatic turnaround, the Supreme Court is likely to withdraw its order making making it mandatory for people to stand up for national anthem before the screening of a film in theatres.
The Home Ministry, through an affidavit filed in the apex court, has said that the government has formed a committee of ministers to deal with the matter, and will come up with fresh rules soon.
The affidavit says the Indian Constitution says nothing regarding the playing of national anthem at public places. Following the Centre’s fresh stand in the controversial issue, the Supreme Court is now likely to hear the matter tomorrow.
On November 30, 2016, the Supreme Court had ordered that the national anthem must be played in cinema halls across the country before a movie starts in order to instil a sense of patriotism and nationalism.
The court had said that it would be mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played. Later, in December 2016, the court modified its order to say that handicapped persons need not stand up.
However, in October last year, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to take a call on the playing of the national anthem in public places, including cinema halls. The court observed that such an order may be bad in light of personal choices and individual liberties.
"People go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment. Why should we make choices for them? Why should we assume that if someone doesn’t stand up for anthem in he cinema hall, he is not patriotic?" the Supreme Court asked.
Using some strong words, Justice Chandrachud on the bench had said, "Why doesn’t the Centre amend the law? Why should the burden be thrown on the judiciary? Tomorrow, you will say ban people from wearing T-shirts and shorts to the cinema hall because it’s an insult to national anthem. Where do you draw a line? Where does this moral policing stop?"