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Centre asks Supreme Court to stay order on national anthem in cinemas


A committee has been asked to submit a report in six months for framing guidelines on occasions and circumstances in which the national anthem is to be played or sung and the observance of proper decorum.

IANS

The Central government on Monday, 8 January, asked the Supreme Court to put on hold its December 2016 order making it mandatory for cinema halls to play national anthem and the audience to stand up during its rendition.

Telling the top court that it has set-up an inter-ministerial committee for framing guidelines describing occasions and circumstances in which the national anthem is to be played or sung and the observance of proper decorum, it said that it would require extensive discussions on wide ranging issues.

Telling the court that the committee has been asked to submit a report with its recommendations in six months, the Centre urged the top court to put on hold its direction vis-a-vis playing of national anthem in cinema halls.

The Supreme Court may consider restoration of 'status quo ante until then', that is restoration of the position as it stood before the December 2016 order.

The matter will come up for hearing today, 9 January.

The government's latest stand comes as a total summersault of its previous stand on the issue.

The Supreme Court, on 23 October 2017, asked the government to consider amending the national flag code for regulating the playing of national anthem in cinema halls across the country.

And while Justice DY Chandrachud, who was a member of the bench along with chief justice Dipak Misra and justice AM Khanwilkar, questioned the logic behind the order, saying there is no need for an Indian to "wear his patriotism on his sleeve", attorney general KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needs to be played in the cinema halls to bring in unity.