Order on anthem at cinemas may change

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The judge was part of a three-judge bench comprising of himself, CJI Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar.

During the hearing, Attorney General K K 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 uniformity.

Justifying its U-turn on the issue, the Bench said, "People go to movie halls for undiluted entertainment".

"Should we wear our patriotism on our sleeves?".

In a major departure from its order mandating cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of any movie, the Supreme Court on Monday said such a direction, if at all, has to come from the Government.

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At this juncture, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the bench, which also included Justice A.M. Kanwilkar, hinted that the court itself would modify the order. "We do not have to sing the national anthem to be patriatotic", the court observed.

In 2016, the apex court had stated that playing the national anthem in the theatres should be undertaken as a practice to "instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism". The court said that it would not let the government shoot from its shoulders and hence it is the centre which must take the call. Attorney General K K Venugopal represented the Centre in court. The court said that the center should not be influenced by any of the earlier orders or current observations of the Supreme Court in this matter. Where do we draw a line? At that time, the Supreme Court had said that the playing of National Anthem will promote patriotism and nationalism. The bench was hearing an application from a Kerala-based film society seeking to recall the November 30, 2016, order on the ground that it amounted to judicial legislation. "Why should you assume that everyone who doesn't stand up for the national anthem is not patriotic?"

He wondered as to why the government put the blame and burden on the court for passing such an interim order.

He further said, " next you will want people to stop wearing tees and shorts to the cinemas saying this is disrespect to the Anthem.