K'taka Rajyotsava: Circular on hoisting flag withdrawn

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Karnataka
Karnataka, Nov 1: On the eve of 57th Kannada Rajyotsava, the Karnataka Government on Wednesday informed the High Court that it has withdrawn its earlier circular making hoisting of Kannada flag compulsory on Nov 1, "Kannada Rajyotsava" day. A notification to this effect has also been issued.

The government advocate made a submission to this effect before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justices Vikramjit Sen and BV Nagarathna during hearing of a PIL filed by Prakash Shetty, who had complained that Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and its president TA Narayana Gowda were "misusing" the "Kannada flag" for their private gain.

The petitioner had also said that though the "Kannada flag" was not declared as the official flag of the State, it still represents culture and reorganised state of Karnataka.

During budget speech, the then Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda had said that the hoisting of the "Kannada flag" will be made compulsory in all government offices, schools and colleges on Nov 1, the petitoner pointed.

Observing there was only one flag i.e., the national flag and states could not have separate flags, the court, during early hearing, had questioned the legal sanctity of such a circular and had sought to know the Karnataka government's stand on the issue.

Following Court's question, the state government informed the court that the it had refused to declare "Kannada flag" as the official flag because "such a recognition would be against unity and integrity of the country".

Later, the government pledged to withdraw the announcement made in the budget speech on compulsory hoisting of the "Kannada flag" on Nov 1.

However, the government did not withdraw the decision even after five months after giving the undertaking to the court.

When the petition came up for hearing on Oct 31, which was set as a deadline by High Court, the government counsel said that a circular was issued on Oct 4 withdrawing the decision announced in the budget speech. Following this, the Bench has adjourned further hearing to Nov 19.

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