The Centre’s Narendra Modi government on Monday took a U-turn while suggesting the Supreme Court there was no need to make it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of a feature film.
The government said that an inter-ministerial committee had been set up to frame guidelines outlining circumstances and occasions on which the national anthem is to be played or sung, reported PTI. The government added that observance of proper decorum on such occassions required extensive consultations.
The government advised the apex court to “consider the restoration of status quo ante until then i.e restoration of the position as it stood before the order passed by this court on November 30, 2016” making the playing of the National Anthem mandatory in all cinemas before the feature film starts.
The Supreme Court’s bench, which had Chief Justice Deepak Misra in it, had asked the Centre in October last year to consider amending the rules for regulating playing of the national anthem in the theatres.
The decision, widely condemned by civil society members, had led to physical torture of several disable people, who simply could not stand up for the national anthem.
The top court had said that it will not allow the government to “shoot from its shoulder” and asked it to take a call either way on the issue of regulating the playing the anthem. And yet, it left the decision to the government on whether the court should modify or reverse its order.
The bench also indicated that it may modify its order of 1 December, 2016, by which the playing of the anthem was made mandatory in the movie halls before the screening of a film, and it may replace the word “shall” with “may”.