Diluting its earlier order, the Supreme Court on 09 January 2018 made playing of the national anthem in cinema halls before screening of films optional. should a movie theater choose to play the national anthem, the audience would have to stand as a mark of respect except for certain exempted class of people, such as the handicapped, the ill, etc.
A three-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra took this decision at the instance of the central government, which said it was examining the issue of respecting the national anthem in depth and would come up with new rules within six months.
The court order would hold till fresh rules are notified. The government, through the Attorney General, had urged the court to dilute its earlier order mandating it to be played before every movie on the grounds that the home ministry’s new committee was looking into it.
Some people keep sitting while it is being played as they are unaware of what decorum warrants, he argued. “This aspect has not been decided and must be.” The government said it was not possible to draw up an exhaustive list of places where it should be played or specify what decorum should be maintained while it was being played. Attorney General KK Venugopal said the rules currently mandate that it be played for its ceremonial importance on occasions such as national days.