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Don't Make National Anthem Compulsory at Cinema Halls, Committee to Advise Govt

The shorter version of the anthem (20 seconds), according to the committee, should be played before raising toasts in the officers’ mess. Also, when the national anthem is played by a band, it should be preceded by a roll of drums.

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Updated:April 20, 2018, 9:22 AM IST
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Don't Make National Anthem Compulsory at Cinema Halls, Committee to Advise Govt
Whether or not the national anthem should be sung while unfurling the national flag should be left to the good sense of the people (File photo of Indian flag: Getty Images)
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New Delhi: Soon, you may not have to stand for the national anthem before a movie at cinema halls as the 12-member panel is likely to suggest that the playing of 52-second long anthem before screening will create disorder and confusion instead of adding dignity to it.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the inter-ministerial committee, set up to “frame guidelines describing circumstances and occasions on which the national anthem is to be played or sung”, is likely to suggest that cinema halls should not play the national anthem before screening a film.

The committee, according to sources, is of the view that playing the national anthem will interrupt the screening of the film, and create disorder and confusion instead of adding to the dignity of the anthem.

The 12-member panel, set up on December 5, 2017, was given six months’ time to come up with statutory requirements on playing the national anthem in cinema halls and public places.

The committee, sources said, is likely to suggest that the national anthem should be played before and after the President’s address to the nation on All India Radio, arrival of the Governor/ Lieutenant Governor at formal state functions, when the national flag is brought out on parade, when the regimental colours are presented, and during morning assembly in schools. Whether or not the national anthem should be sung while unfurling the national flag should be left to the good sense of the people.

The shorter version of the anthem (20 seconds), according to the committee, should be played before raising toasts in the officers’ mess. Also, when the national anthem is played by a band, it should be preceded by a roll of drums.

The panel, however, is still awaiting the state governments’ response. “We have written to the state governments and will apprise the Supreme Court on the next date of hearing if there is any delay or difference of opinion,” said an official.

The panel, headed by Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Brij Raj Sharma, has met three times so far, and is likely to meet again next week before finalising its recommendations.

The other members in the committee are mostly joint secretary-level officers nominated by the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Women and Child Development, HRD, Culture, Parliamentary Affairs, Law, Minority Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

The Centre’s decision to set up the committee came after a Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, in October last year observed that people “cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves” and it cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the national anthem, he or she is “less patriotic”.
| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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