MP High Court: Act of leaving National Flag hoisted after sunset not an offence.

Citizens who wants to hoist the Tricolour have to follow the rules and regulations about how to fly the national flag based on the legislation.

The Indian flag code was modified on January 26, 2002, and citizens were allowed to hoist the tricolour over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just on national days. Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all citizens to fly the tricolour on their private premises.

A member of public, a private organisation or an educational institution may hoist or display the national flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of tricolour also the tricolour may be hoisted in educational institutions such as schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc to inspire respect for the national flag.

However one has to keep and mind the don’ts while hoisting the tricolour. For example, the tricolour cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes, the tricolour can’t be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in the water. It can’t be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft, no other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the tricolour and the tricolour should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather, as far as possible.

However, the bench of Justice S. A. Dharmadhikari ruled that the flying of the National Flag between sunset and sunrise is not prohibited by law in view of the Flag code being a mere set of instructions without the force of Law.

On 16th August 2017, it was brought to the notice of some people that the Tricolour continued to remain hoisted till 8:30 PM in the compound of Balaji ITI College, Sabhalgarh and an FIR was filed by the witnesses describing it as an insult to the National Flag.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court said that the provision is attracted when a person is in public place within public view, burning mutilating, defacing, defiling, disfiguring, destroying, trampling upon or bringing or otherwise bringing into contempt by words spoken or written or by act begin the Indian National Flag.

Also the Court stated, keeping in mind the Section 2 of 1971 Act, “the act of leaving the National Flag in hoisted position even after sunset may be an act of advertent or inadvertent forgetfulness and subject matter of misconduct but not contemptuous unless it is shown that hoisting and flying the National Flag between sunset and sunrise is expressly prescribed as an offence in specific terms.”

On the other hand, the respondents argued that Section 2 of 1971 Act had to be read in conjunction with the said Clause of Sec.2(2.2)(xi) of Flag Code, and therefore, it was obvious that the petitioners had committed the offence punishable u/S.2 of 1971 Act.

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