*Violations more frequent in Kashmir than other parts
JAMMU, Jan 1: Taking serious note of non-adherence to the provisions of Flag Code of India-2002 and their blatant breach in different parts of State in general and Kashmir valley in particular, the State Accountability Commission (SAC) has directed the Chief Secretary B R Sharma to ensure strict implementation of this Code along with all the notifications issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the subject from time to time.
The Flag Code of India is a set of laws, practices and conventions that apply to the display of the National Flag across the country. Apart from instructions issued by the Union Government through Ministry of Home Affairs from time to time, display of the National Flag is governed by the provisions of the Emblems and Name (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.
Moreover, the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 prohibits disrespect to Indian National Flag and it attracts imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that recently State Accountability Commission received a representation from a citizen mentioning that certain vital provisions of Flag Code of India are not being strictly implemented in different parts of State particularly in Kashmir valley.
It has specifically been mentioned in the representation that majority of the Government buildings in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir have not been displaying the National Tricolour, which otherwise is mandatory as per the Flag Code of India-2002, sources said. However, in the representation no grievance has been projected vis-à-vis adherence to the provisions of Flag Code of India by the Central Government Depart-ments functioning in Jammu and Kashmir.
It has further been mentioned that even offices of Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Com-missioners and vital Comm-issions are not having the National Flag atop their buildings in blatant breach of Flag Code of India, sources said.
The Full Commission comprising Chairperson Justice B A Khan and Members Justice J P Singh and Justice B A Kirmani has taken cognizance of this representation as grievance of the citizen and directed the Chief Secretary of the State, B R Sharma to ensure strict compliance to the provisions of Flag Code of India.
The Commission is of the observation that National Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of the whole country and it is the symbol of national pride. Moreover, over the last several decades numerous people including the members of armed forces have ungrudgingly laid down their lives to keep the Tricolor flying in its full glory.
“The Commission has forwarded the representation to the Chief Secretary for his knowledge”, sources said while disclosing that Section 3.39 of Flag Code of India makes it mandatory that the National Flag should be flown on important public buildings such as High Courts, Secretariats, Commissioners’ Offices, Jails and Offices of Divisional Commissioners, District Magistrates/Boards, Municipalities, Zila Parishads and Departmental Public Sector Undertakings.
The attention of the Chief Secretary has also been drawn towards Section 3.3 of the Flag Code, which deals with official display of the National Flag and makes it mandatory for all Governments and their organizations/agencies to follow the provisions strictly.
Not only the provisions of Flag Code of India-2002, the Accountability Commission has also asked the Chief Secretary to ensure strict implementation of notifications issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs from time to time on different aspects of this Code, sources informed, adding “the SAC has further directed the head of bureaucracy in the State to apprise the Commission about the steps taken to ensure implementation of Flag Code of India after going through the representation of the citizen”.
“It is a matter of serious concern that important notifications of MHA on this vital subject are being intentionally ignored by different wings of the J&K Government”, sources regretted while pointing towards frequent incidents of disrespect to the National Flag by the protesters in different parts of Kashmir valley.