Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
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Keep calm! Now, bureaucrats to take a call on national anthem in movie halls

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Government tells Supreme Court that playing of national anthem in cinema halls is optional; forms an inter-ministerial panel to frame rules in six months.

New Delhi: Now, bureaucrats will take a call whether playing of the national anthem in cinema halls will be mandatory or not.

Attorney general K.K. Venugopal told the Supreme Court Tuesday that central government had formed a 12-member inter-ministerial panel to decide the matter within six months.

The government had asked the top court to make the move optional till the panel submits its guidelines.

The ministries involved in the process include home, defence, external affairs, culture, women and child development, parliamentary affairs, information and broadcasting, minority affairs, law ministry, department of school education and literacy and the department of empowerment of persons with disability.

Sources told ThePrint that the committee will be headed by a representative of the border management division from the home ministry.

The panel that will take six months to frame rules is likely to consider making exceptions for people with disabilities.

According to sources with knowledge of developments, the decision to set up the panel came after another plea was filed seeking framing of a policy for promoting the national anthem, national song and the national flag.

It was filed by advocate and BJP’s Delhi spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. In April last year, the apex court had admitted the plea and asked the Centre to respond to it.

The government’s decision came as the apex court modified its November 2016 ruling that made playing of the national anthem in movie halls compulsory. Even in 2016, the government had supported the court’s decision.

It is now discretionary for cinema halls to play the national anthem but the court reiterated that citizens will have to stand up and show respect while the anthem is playing.

The court’s ruling came in a PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in 2013. The court had modified its ruling to exempt hearing disability, mild intellectual disabilities or are visually challenged.

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