Haryana minister of state for sports and youth affairs Sukhbir Kataria has invited legal trouble for waving the national flag in an ‘inappropriate manner’ to flag off a marathon walk on World Health Day on April 7 in the city.
Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, ex-president of the district bar association, has filed a petition against Kataria for “lowering the dignity” of the national flag under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Bhardwaj is also a BJP activist.
The section prohibits insult to the national flag and the Constitution of India at public places or in public view by way of burning, mutilating, defacing, defiling, disfiguring, destroying or trampling upon them. The offence can invite fine or imprisonment of up to three years or both.
Kataria, who represents Gurgaon in the state assembly, was invited as the chief guest to inaugurate the marathon at Tau Devi Lal Park. The petition alleges, he “put the flag upside down”.
The petitioner’s lawyer said that he moved the court as the police station concerned had refused to lodge an FIR and the minister had not apologised for “his disrespectful” gesture yet.
Responding to the court case against him, Kataria said, “I am a law-abiding citizen. Since the matter is in the court, I cannot comment.” The court of judicial magistrate (first class) Ashok Kumar will hear the case on April 18.