States yet to decide on national anthem query

In attention: The National Anthem is played prior to the screening of a movie in Mumbai. File Photo.   | Photo Credit: Rajneesh Londhe

None of the States, including the 21 ruled by the BJP and its allies, has responded to the Centre’s letter seeking their opinion on playing of the national anthem in cinema halls and public places.

The Union Home Ministry had written to the States seeking their opinion on the issue. It sent a reminder to all the States again this month.

On December 5 last year, the Home Ministry notified the appointment of a 12-member inter-ministerial committee which would take a final call on the playing of the national anthem in cinema and public places. The panel, led by Special Secretary B.R. Sharma, is expected to give its report on the existing laws.

Six months

The committee comprises Joint Secretary-level officers from 11 Ministries and departments of the Central government. It was expected to submit its report within six months.

“We have sent two reminders to the State governments to give their opinion on playing of national anthem in cinema halls. Not one has responded so far,” said a senior government official.

The Central government’s decision to set up the expert committee came after the Supreme Court 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 was “less patriotic.”

Suggest changes

The committee is expected to give recommendations regarding regulations on playing/singing of the national anthem and suggest changes in the acts and orders relating to the Insult of National Honour Act, 1971.

An earlier advisory of the Home Ministry said that audiences were not expected to stand if the national anthem was played as part of the film.

Whenever the Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention. However, when in the course of a newsreel or documentary the anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the anthem,” it said.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 5:36:47 AM |

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