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Now, playing the national anthem is not mandatory in Maharashtra cinema halls

The Supreme Court had on January 9 made it optional for theatres to play it before screening a film

mumbai Updated: Feb 08, 2018 09:27 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maharashtra cinema halls,National anthem,National anthem movie theatres
Cinema-goers stand for national anthem before a movie.(Shankar Mourya/HT File Photo)

Playing the national anthem in cinema halls before screening films is not mandatory in Maharashtra now.

Following the Supreme Court’s order last month, the state home department has directed all district administrations and police commissioners to implement the order and submit a report in stipulated time. Maharashtra was among the first few states to make the national anthem mandatory in cinema halls in 2003.

The state home department issued the order, dated February 1, directing local administrations to comply with the SC orders. In turn, the police commissioners and collectors, through their ‘theatre branches’ are expected to convey this to owners. “Honourable SC has modified its earlier order on January 9, saying that the playing the national anthem in theatres before screening of the movies is not mandatory, but optional and directory. You are directed to ensure that the court orders are implemented in letter and spirit. You are also directed to submit the compliance report in due time,” the order reads.

The order was issued in response to the letter, dated January 18, sent out by the ministry of home affairs to all the state governments for implementation of the SC order. The Centre has also clarified that as the committee constituted by it to study the matter and submit its report, it is free to make its recommendations uninfluenced by the interim directions. “Similarly, competent Authority shall in taking its decisions not be constrained or influenced by any of the interim decisions,” the letter said.

The SC on January 9, by modifying its earlier order, made it optional for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening a film. The order came after the Centre requested SC to modify its November 2016 order since it had constituted a 12-member inter-ministerial committee to look into all aspects related to singing and screening of the national anthem.

The Multiplex Association of India has welcomed the step.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 23:22 IST