Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Nod to jail term for insulting Tricolour
Tribune News Service And UNI

New Delhi, January 21
The Union Cabinet today approved the decision to impose strong punishment, including imprisonment, for showing any disrespect to the National Flag. The Cabinet decided to bring about an amendment to the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act, 1971. Briefing newspersons after the Cabinet meeting, which met under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister here, an official spokesperson said the amendment would also define “insult” in broader detail.

National flags are on sale in market ahead of Republic Day
National flags are on sale in market ahead of Republic Day in Bhopal on Tuesday. — PTI photo

A minimum imprisonment of one year was proposed in case of second or subsequent offence of deliberate insult to the Tricolour or the offence of intentionally preventing singing of the National Anthem or causing disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing, the spokesperson said.

The Cabinet also decided to approve two amendments to the Montreal Protocol on preventing the ozone layer from depletion. The spokesperson said the ratification of the amendments to the Montreal and Copenhagen protocols would reiterate India’s commitment on the issue of protecting the depletion of the ozone layer.

This would also entail trade and other associated benefits, including technology transfer and financing of projects which used hydrobromoflurocarbons and methyl bromide, the spokesperson said. Exactly a year ago, the government had announced a relaxation in the Flag Code with effect from Republic Day (January 26), under which members of the public could fly the Tricolour subject to certain conditions primarily intended to safeguard the dignity and honour of the flag.

The changes in the Flag Code were in accordance with the recommendations of a high-level committee of the Home Ministry headed by then Additional Secretary P.D. Shenoy. High Court and Supreme Court judges are now permitted to fly the Tricolour on their car. The high court had also passed certain orders on the issue of the National Flag in 2001, but Home Ministry sources said the government had initiated action in October, 2000, when the Shenoy Committee was set up.

The Centre had also included in the new Flag Code stringent punishment and penalty of fine for deliberate insult, as recommended by the Shenoy Committee in its report in April, 2001.

The National Flag could, until Republic Day last year, only be flown on Republic Day, the National Week, Independence Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary and any other day of national rejoicing specified by the Central Government. The use or display of the National Flag is governed by the Flag Code, India, which is a compendium of executive instructions from time to time.

The flying of the National Flag is governed by the Emblem and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Under the code, insult to the National Flag has so far been defined at greater length by including depiction of the flag on costumes as serious disrespect. Costumes sporting the Tricolour are often used in feature films, and in school or other cultural programmes held in connection with Republic Day or Independence Day.Back

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