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C'garh: Row over National Flag flying beyond sunset

Written by: Staff

Raipur, Oct 27: A controversy has sparked in Chhattisgarh with the police booking a case against Jindal Power Limited (JPL) in Raigarh district on the charges of keeping the National flag up after sunset and the company maintaining that lowering the flag at sunset was not mandatory in the case of private bodies and general public.

A case was registered against Jindal Power Limited (JPL) at the Tamnar police station in Raigarh district, alleging that the National flag, remained flying till 1915 hours-even after sunset--- on October 18 at the site where a 1000 MW power plant is being set up.

Jindal Steel and Power Limited's Executive Vice-president and Managing Director Naveen Jindal, who is also a Congress member of parliament, has urged the state police to withdraw the case and tender an apology for booking a 'frivolous' case, pointing out that in the Flag code of India, flying of National flag by the members of general public and private bodies and organisations after sunset has neither been categorised under 'misuse' nor under 'incorrect' display.

Quoting a letter from the ministry of home affairs regarding correct interpretation of National Flag Code of India -2002, he pointed out that as per its provisions there shall be no restriction on display of the National Flag by the members of general public, private organisations, educational institutions, except to the extent provided in the Emblems and Names (Prevention of improper use) Act 1960.

The letter said while it is incumbent on the official, government bodies, institutions to fly the National flag from sunrise to sunset only, for the members of general public, it has been provided that the flag may be flown by them as far as possible from sunrise to sunset. " In other words, the lowering of flag at sunset is not mandatory in the case of private bodies and general public", the letter added.

Mr Jindal said though it was customary to hoist the tricolour at sunrise and lower the same at sunset, the Flag code has, however, given freedom to the general public from lowering the flag after sunset. He said the police, without having knowledge or understanding of the provisions of the Indian flag code, had booked the case against the company.

He said it was because of this mindset of the police that general public does not venture to display National Flag on all days and express their patriotic feeling towards the country.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman in state capital refused to comment about Raigarh police booking a case against Jindal Power Limited (JPL) regarding National Flag issue saying that the matter was being "examined" by the senior officials.

Few years ago, Mr Jindal had spearheaded a campaign to impress upon the government to permit members of general public and private organizations for 'unrestricted' flying of National Flag on all days. Subsequently, an amended Flag Code was issued by the Government, which was made effective from January 26, 2002.

Later the Supreme Court, in its judgment in January 2004, also declared flying of National Flag as a fundamental right of every citizen.


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