Playing the National Anthem henceforth not mandatory in cinema halls: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stated that henceforth, playing the national anthem before a film is screened will no longer be mandatory for cinema halls. On Monday, the government filed an affidavit asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its November 2016 order which made it mandatory for cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before screening a film. It also stated that an inter-ministerial committee was being set up to look into modifications in the existing rules- Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, if required.

The apex court, permitting the request, iterated that citizens ought to show respect to the national anthem and that the committee must look into all aspects. The government also let petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey take up his prayers with the committee. The top court added that the earlier order which granted disabled persons an exemption from standing during the anthem would still stand valid.

“We are happy. Part of our demands has been met. We will give our suggestions to the panel,” Abinav Shrivastav, lawyer for the petitioner said.

According to the court’s initial order in November 2016, the audience must “stand up in respect” till the anthem is finished playing. That, in its opinion, would “instill a feeling within one, a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism,” the bench had ordered; led by Justice Dipak Misra, who later became the Chief Justice of India.

Based on the affidavit, the committee will be headed by Additional Secretary (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs, with representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of School Education and Literacy and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability.

Friday release ends Tamil Nadu Screen strike

Screen-owners in Tamil Nadu have broken their four-day long strike and will reopen the cinema gates from tomorrow. But, cine goers will have to dig deeper in their pockets as a 28% of Goods and Services Tax will be levied on the regular price of movie ticket.

From Friday, an 18% GST will be charged for tickets below Rs. 100 and less whereas, the highest tax slab of 28% will be applied to tickets priced at or above Rs. 120.

But still, the issue of 30% local corporation tax remains unsolved. Abirami Ramanthan, president, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association said that their concern has been put forward to government officials and hopes that some solution will evolve shortly.

Till now, no official confirmation or statement has come from the authorities. Some theatre owners believe that the Government might pass the burden of 30% tax to the hall owners, which will reduce their profit margins drastically. “Now, it is possible for us to pass on the GST to customers. We fear that the government might now expect us to pay a 30% local tax on the ticket price,” said a cinema owner.  If so happens it might leave the cinema owners to increase ticket prices, which will then indirectly hit the customers.

Sources: The Hindu, India Today

Image Source: R. Ragu (The Hindu)

SC: Differently-abled people exempted from standing during National Anthem

The Supreme Court today exempted differently abled people from standing while the National Anthem is played in cinema halls. The verdict was delivered by Justice Dipak Misra. The apex court on November 30, 2016 had ordered national anthem be played in all cinema halls across India prior to the screening of the movie. In addition, theatre owners are also required to display the national flag. This mandatory move evoked

In addition, theatre owners are also required to display the national flag. This mandatory move evoked varied reaction from millions of cinema-goers and cinema owners; with comments ranging from forced nationalism to some taking the patriot stand. Moreover, the social media was abuzz with discussion on why playing the national anthem be limited to cinema halls and not in other institutional establishment like the Parliament, State Assemblies and courts.

According to Indian Express, “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. That apart, it would instill the feeling within one, a sense committed patriotism and nationalism,” said the bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, giving 10 days for compliance.

SOURCES : The Indian Express, OneIndia

Image Source : DNA India