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Anurag Kashyap hails SC order on anthem

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India's Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a ruling that ordered the national anthem to be played before movie screenings while audiences stand a ruling that sparked a spate of arrests and attacks on cinema-goers who refused to rise

The court left the decision to play the anthem to theatre owners a day after the Centre asked it to put on hold its November 2016 order that had made the anthem a must in cinemas.

The bench further noted that all citizens are bound by the 2012 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, wherein a set of guidelines was laid down on singing and playing of the 52-second national anthem.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its November 30, 2016 interim order and made it optional for cinema halls to play the 52-second national anthem before every show.

The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide.

Following the Centre's submission, the SC disposed of the petition and said its order making the national anthem optional would remain in operation till the committee came out with recommendations.

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"Proper decorum has to be maintained", the court said, asking the government to fill the gaps, as pointed in the PIL, in the prevention of insult of national honour act. During the last hearing, the judges were critical of the outcome of its 2016 order.

The centre had set up the committee after the top court, in October a year ago, observed that the people "cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves" and it can not be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the national anthem, he or she is "less patriotic". People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment.

Supreme Court has stated that playing of the national anthem - "Jana Gana Mana" at movie halls is not mandatory.

The Multiplex Association of India president Deepak Asher told THR that following the new ruling, it is now up to multiplexes "to take a call whether they want to or don't want to play the national anthem". The directions are issued for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the national anthem as well as to the national flag. The apex court has stated that this move would inculcate the feeling within one, a sense dedicated patriotism and nationalism.

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