Playing national anthem in cinema halls not mandatory, rules SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that playing the national anthem before screening movies in cinema halls is not mandatory, overturning its own ruling of 2016.The latest ruling by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra followed an order of November 2016 when the apex court made the playing of the national anthem compulsory in cinema halls before movies are screened.

Tuesday's order came on a plea by the Central government that it had set up an inter-ministerial committee that will frame guidelines to decide the circumstances when the national anthem should be played or sung with decorum.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal urged the court to modify its 2016 order substituting "may" with "shall" for the playing of national anthem in cinema halls. The 2016 order had said that all viewers in the cinema halls should stand up when the national anthem was played. Disposing of the petition by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, the court allowed him to take his case to the inter-ministerial committee.

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