The Flag Code of India
- The Flag Code of India is a set of guidelines and rules that govern the display, use, and handling of the national flag of India.
- It was first adopted on 26th January 1950, the day India became a Republic, and it was revised and updated in 2002 to include specific provisions and clarify certain aspects of flag usage.
- The code aims to promote respect and dignity for the national flag and ensure that it is treated with utmost honour and pride.
Key provisions and guidelines laid out in the Flag Code of India:
- Design and Dimensions:
- The Indian national flag consists of three horizontal stripes – saffron at the top, white in the middle, and green at the bottom.
- In the centre is a navy blue Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, representing progress and righteousness.
- The ratio of the width of the flag to its length should be 2:3.
- The national flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset on all government buildings and offices throughout the year.
- It should also be hoisted on important national occasions, such as Republic Day (26th January), Independence Day (15th August), and Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October).
- It can be flown on other buildings and private establishments on these occasions as well.
- The flag should be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning on specific occasions, such as the death of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, or State Governors.
- The Home Ministry issues orders for half-masting on such occasions.
- When the flag is being hoisted or lowered, all present should stand in attention and show respect.
- Civilians should place their right hand over their heart while military personnel should salute.
- Prohibition of Damaged Flags:
- Torn, soiled, or damaged flags should not be displayed or used.
- They should be disposed of in a respectful manner, such as by burning or burial.
- Festivals and Celebrations:
- The national flag should not be used as a decoration or a part of any costume.
- It should not be used for any commercial, advertising, or partisan purposes.
- Prohibition of Desecration:
- Any disrespect to the national flag is strictly prohibited.
- It should not be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or be used as a cover for tables, podiums, or draping motor vehicles.
- International Events:
- The national flag should be displayed prominently at international events where India is represented, such as at embassies, consulates, and during official visits abroad.
- State and Union Territory Flags:
- The Flag Code of India also lays down guidelines for the display and use of flags of different states and Union Territories of India.
The Flag Code of India serves as a reminder of the significance and sanctity of the national flag and the values it represents. It ensures that the tricolour is always honoured and respected, thereby instilling a sense of national pride and unity among the citizens of India. The code also emphasizes the importance of responsible and dignified flag handling, reflecting the country’s commitment to its national symbols and ideals.
What are the Changes and Updates?
- The Flag Code of India, 2002, governs the hoisting, use, and display of the Indian National Flag, along with the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
- An amendment to the Flag Code of India was made on 30th December 2021.
- It allowed the use of National Flags made of polyester or machine-made materials, in addition to the traditional hand-spun and hand-woven khadi bunting made of cotton/polyester/wool/silk.
- Members of the public, private organizations, and educational institutions are allowed to hoist and display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, as long as it is done with dignity and honour.
- Another amendment was made on 19th July 2022, replacing clause (xi) of paragraph 2.2 of Part-II of the Flag Code.
- According to the new clause, when the Flag is displayed in open or on the house of a member of the public, it may be flown day and night.
- The National Flag must be rectangular in shape, and it can be of any size, but the ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag should be 3:2.
- Whenever the National Flag is displayed, it should occupy the position of honour and should be distinctly placed.
- A damaged or dishevelled Flag should not be displayed. It is essential to maintain the flag’s dignity and appearance.
- The National Flag should not be flown from a single masthead simultaneously with any other flag or flags.
- The Flag should not be flown on any vehicle except for the dignitaries mentioned in Section IX of Part III of the Flag Code.
- This includes the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Governors, etc.
- No other flag or bunting should be placed higher than, above, or side by side with the National Flag.
- This ensures that the National Flag is given due respect and prominence in all settings.
The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971
The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, is an important legislation in India that aims to protect the dignity and honour of the national symbols of the country, including the National Flag, the National Anthem, and the Constitution of India.
- The Act was enacted to prevent any intentional disrespect or insult to these symbols, as they hold significant value in representing the nation’s unity, integrity, and sovereignty.
Background and Enactment:
- The Act was passed by the Indian Parliament and received the President’s assent on 19th January 1972.
- It was enacted to uphold the dignity and respect of the national symbols, which are considered sacred and emblematic of the country’s identity.
Scope and Objectives:
- The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, primarily focuses on safeguarding the integrity of the National Flag, the National Anthem, and the Constitution of India.
- It aims to prevent any intentional disrespect, insult, or misuse of these symbols.
Provisions of the Act:
The Act consists of four sections, each dealing with specific aspects of protecting the national symbols:
- Section 2: Definition
- This section provides definitions of various terms used in the Act, such as “National Flag,” “National Anthem,” and “Insult.”
- Section 3: Prevention of Insults to National Honour
- Section 3 of the Act prohibits any act that intentionally prevents the singing of the National Anthem or causes disturbance during its performance.
- It also forbids any intentional disrespect or insult to the National Flag, whether by mutilating, defacing, or showing any contempt towards it.
- Section 4: Offences and Penalties
- This section lays down the penalties for contravening the provisions of the Act.
- Any individual found guilty of violating the Act may face imprisonment for up to three years or a fine or both.
- Section 5: Cognizance of Offences
- Section 5 deals with the procedure for taking cognizance of the offenses under the Act.
- It specifies that only courts of the Magistrate First Class or higher may take cognizance of the offenses.
Enforcement and Implementation:
- The Act is enforced by law enforcement agencies, and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure its effective implementation.
- The police and judicial authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases related to violations of the Act.
The National Flag- Tiranga
- During India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule, the idea of a national flag gained significant momentum.
- Several leaders and freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Subhash Chandra Bose, advocated for the adoption of a common flag that would represent India’s unity and aspirations for freedom.
- The Swaraj Flag:
- One of the earliest versions of the Indian flag during the independence movement was the Swaraj Flag, designed by PingaliVenkayya.
- It consisted of two horizontal stripes of red and green, representing the two major communities in India – Hindus and Muslims, with a spinning wheel (charkha) in the centre, symbolizing self-reliance and economic progress.
- The Gandhian Flag:
- In 1921, Mahatma Gandhi proposed a new design for the Indian flag.
- It featured three horizontal stripes – red, yellow, and green – with a spinning wheel at the centre.
- The red represented Hindus, the green for Muslims, and the yellow for other communities.
- This flag became widely popular during the non-cooperation movement.
- The Flag at the Lahore Session:
- On 31st December 1929, the Indian National Congress hoisted a new tricolour flag at its Lahore session.
- It had three horizontal stripes – saffron (top), white (middle), and green (bottom) – with a spinning wheel at the center.
- The saffron represented courage, the white for purity, and the green for fertility and growth.
- The Flag in its Current Form:
- On 22nd July 1947, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the final design of the Indian flag in its current form.
- The flag features three equal horizontal stripes – saffron (top), white (middle), and green (bottom).
- In the center, there is a blue Ashoka Chakra (wheel) with 24 spokes, representing the Dharma Chakra (Wheel of Law) and symbolizing progress and righteousness.
- The saffron stands for courage and sacrifice, white for peace and truth, and green for prosperity and fertility.