Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a plea for directions to make playing of the national anthem mandatory in all cinema halls/theatres before movie shows.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked the central and Delhi governments to file their response on the Public Interest Litigation.

The plea, moved by law graduate Harsh Nagar, asked the court to issue guidelines with appropriate clarification as to where and on what occasions the national anthem can be sung or played.

The petition has said Maharashtra, Goa and several southern states have the practice of playing the national anthem in cinema halls.

The plea observed that a few decades ago it was mandatory to play the national anthem at the end of the screening of a movie.

However, in a rush to leave the theatre, members of the audience did not stand still and thus it was considered disrespect to the national anthem. This patriotic ritual faded with time and was completely stopped after a while, the plea added.

The court posted the matter for December 14.