Ahead of Republic Day, MHA asks people not to use plastic flags
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has issued an advisory ahead of Republic Day urging the general public not to use flags made of plastic while also asking states and union territories to ensure strict compliance of Flag Code of India, people familiar with the development said.
In its advisory, seen by HT, the home ministry asked the state governments to undertake mass awareness programmes regarding the use of flags made of paper only and to dispose them in private to maintain the flag’s dignity.
“It has been brought to the notice of this ministry that on the occasions of important national, cultural and sports events, national flags made of plastic are being used in place of paper flags. Since plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, these do not get decomposed for a long time; and ensuring appropriate disposal of national flag made of plastic with dignity is a practical problem,” MHA said.
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The advisory asked states/UTs to ensure that only paper flags are used by the public under the provisions of the Flag Code of India, 2002 and such flags are not discarded or thrown on the ground after the event.
According to Section 2 of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, “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.”
The MHA added “There is universal affection and respect for and loyalty to the national flag. Yet, a perceptible lack of awareness is often noticed amongst the people as well as organisations and agencies of the government in regard to laws, practices and conventions that apply to ‘display of the national flag’”.
An official who didn’t want to be named said such advisories are regularly sent to the states/UTs for creating awareness among the public.