When Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah unveiled the state flag, it was being seen as a move to bag in the votes on Kannada pride ahead of the crucial assembly elections.
The decision has been questioned by many in the opposition and also been termed as a gimmick. Without getting into the politics of it, let us examine the law. There is no precedent for any Indian state, barring Jammu and Kashmir to have a separate flag.
India follows the precedent, One Nation One Flag. However one must also bear in mind that Constitution of India does not bar states from having separate flags.
After the flag was unveiled, Siddaramaiah said that it would be sent to the Union Home Ministry for approval. The Union Home Ministry has not received any such proposal as yet.
While legally there is nothing that suggests that a state can't or can have a separate flag, it would be interesting to look at what the Flag Code of India has to say. The Flag Code of India and State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act only deals with the National Flag or Tricolour. There is no mention about state or other flags in the code.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only state to have a separate flag and this is Constitutionally approved thanks to Article 370 which confers a special status on the state.
Experts and sources in the Home Ministry say that the concept of One Nation One Flag has been followed for a reason. There is a sanctity involved in this so that the entire nation respects the National Flag which is a symbol of unity.
BJP MP, Prathap Simha while questioning the decision says that this is nothing but a gimmick. Karnataka already has a flag and in such an event where was the need to go and unveil another one. If Siddaramaiah has such love for Karnataka where is the need of this gimmick. Another point is where was the need for it to be sent to the Centre? It needs to be adopted by the state and how can they ask the Centre for approval. Siddaramaiah is a lawyer and he does not know that? He has only dubious intentions, Prathap Simha also said.