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Explained: What are the rules for displaying the Tricolour?

There are a number of rules surrounding the act of hoisting or displaying the Tricolour. These instructions are contained in the Flag Code of India 2002 and upheld by the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Independence Day, Flag Code, Tricolour, India national flag rules, national flag rules, Tricolour rules, Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, Indian ExpressResidents of a society in Bodakdev, Ahmedabad celebrate the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign on Friday. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

On August 12, the Department of Post (DoP) revealed that it had taken only 10 days to sell one crore National Flags through its widespread network of 1.5 lakh post offices across the country and online channels.

Retailers in cities, towns and villages are also witnessing high sales of the flag as people prepare to celebrate the 75th Independence Day by participating in the government’s Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, being held under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav programme. The purpose is to spread the message of patriotism, but not many know that there are a number of rules surrounding the act of hoisting or displaying the Tiranga. These instructions are contained in the Flag Code of India 2002 and upheld by the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Who is allowed to fly a national flag and on which days?

According to the Flag Code of India, paragraph 2.2, which came into effect on January 26, 2002, any person, organisation, private or public, or educational institution (including scout camps) can hoist or display the Tricolour on “all days or occasions in accordance with the dignity and honour of the National Flag”.

How should you choose a flag?

The flag can be as big or small as one wants “but the ratio of the length to the height (width) of the National Flag shall be 3:2”.

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So, the flag must always be a rectangle rather than square or any other shape. After an amendment on December 30, 2021, the material of the flag has been decided as “handspun and handwoven or machine-made, cotton, polyester, wool, silk or khadi bunting”. If the flag is placed in the open or on the house of a member of the public, it may be flown day and night.

What if your flag is damaged by the elements or otherwise?

It is against rules to display a damaged or disheveled National Flag. At all times, the National Flag must be displayed in a position of honour and should be distinctly placed.

“No other flag or bunting shall be placed higher than or above or side by side with the National Flag; nor shall any object including flowers or garlands, or emblem be placed on or above the flagmast from which the National Flag is flown”. The Tricolour should never be used as a festoon, rosette, bunting or for a decorative purpose. No advertisements should be festooned to the pole from which it flies.

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Is it ok to wear the Tricolour in a display of love for the nation?

A person is forbidden by law to use the national flag “as a portion of costume or uniform”. It cannot be used as an accessory to be worn below the waist of any person “nor shall it be embroidered or printed on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, undergarments or any dress material”.

Can it be put up on vehicles?

The National Flag cannot be flown on any vehicle except those of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Governor and other dignitaries. The flag should also not be used to cover the sides, back, and top of any vehicle.

What should you do with the Tricolour after Independence Day?

The Tricolour should not be stored in a way that might dirty or damage it. In case your flag is damaged, the Flag Code instructs you not to cast it aside or treat it disrespectfully but “destroy it as a whole in private, preferably by burning or by any method consistent with the dignity of the flag”.

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People, who are waving flags made of paper, should not throw these on the ground after the ceremony. The flag “shall not be allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in the water”.

What is the punishment for disrespecting the flag?

According to Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, “whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag….shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine, or with both”.

First published on: 12-08-2022 at 06:34:24 pm
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