Ahead of Independence Day, the Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all states, union territories and central ministries and departments about avoiding national flags made of plastic and ensuring paper flags are disposed of with dignity.
The advisory calls for ensuring strict compliance with provisions of the Flag Code of India, 2002 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. The advisory says mass awareness programmes should be held in this regard.
According to the advisory, on important national, cultural and sports events, flags made of paper used by the public should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. “Such flags are to be disposed of, in private, consistent with the dignity of the flag,” it says.
“Further, it has been brought to notice of the MHA that on important events, national flags made of plastic are also being used. Since plastic flags are not biodegradable, these do not get decomposed for a long time and ensuring appropriate disposal of national flags made of plastic commensurate with dignity of the flag, is a practical problem,” the advisory states.
The advisory cites Section 2 of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, which states that “whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian national flag or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine, or with both”.
“A perceptible lack of awareness is often noticed amongst people as well as agencies of the government in regard to laws, practices and conventions that apply to display of the national flag,” the advisory states.