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No response from any state govt. on proposed guidelines on national anthem

By PTI Updated: May 29, 2018 12:23 am

New Delhi, May 28 (PTI): The state governments have not responded so far to a letter sent by an inter-ministerial committee seeking suggestions on framing guidelines on occasions when the national anthem should be played, officials said today.

The 12-member inter-ministerial panel was set up on December 5, 2017 following a Supreme Court observation on the national anthem being played at cinema halls.

“We have sent a letter to all state governments about two months ago seeking their opinion on framing guidelines on circumstances and occasions on which the national anthem is to be played or sung. No state government has responded yet to the letter,” a senior home ministry official said.

The central government set up the committee after a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud in October 2017 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”.

Besides framing guidelines on when the national anthem should be played or sung, the committee was mandated to recommend, if needed, “observance of proper decorum when national anthem is played or sung”, and to suggest any amendments, if required, in the Acts and orders related to The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

On January 9 this year, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had modified the November 30, 2016 order which had made the playing of national anthem in cinema halls mandatory.

The bench had said it would be up to cinema hall owners whether or not to play the national anthem. The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, made it clear, however, that movie-goers will have to show respect to the anthem in case it is played, and they will have to stand.

Following the Supreme Court’s order, the home ministry, in February, wrote to all the states and union territories, informing them about the ruling and reiterating that playing the national anthem in cinema halls was optional.

Another official said it is practically not possible to make mandatory for everyone to stand up when the national anthem is played, especially in case of disabled persons, including mental disability.

The inter-ministerial committee is headed by Secretary (Border Management) Brij Raj Sharma. 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.

By PTI Updated: May 29, 2018 12:23:30 am