Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of S.K. Seth, CJ and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J. dismissed a petition seeking orders for compulsory hoisting of National Flags on every public building every day. The petition was filed suggesting a change in the Flag Code of India, 2002 (FCOI).

The present petition was filed as pro bono publico seeking a direction to incorporate the suggestions made in representation regarding Flag hoisting on public buildings on all days in the FCOI. The grievance of the petitioner was that he had submitted a representation to the respondent-Union of India in this regard but till date, no heed had been paid to it.

The learned counsel for the petitioner, Shobha Menon along with Rahul Choubey, urged that the National Flag should be hoisted at all polling booths on the date of voting. He has made further suggestions that the National Flag should be hoisted on certain specific dates as well, i.e., 30th January – the date when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated; 13th April – when massacre of freedom-fighters took place at Jaliawala Bagh in which almost 379 people lost their lives; 23rd March – when three freedom fighters Shahid Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged. Other suggestions for the hoisting of the National Flag were, on the demises of constitutional dignitaries and eminent personalities in various fields of the society, at schools and prominent government buildings etc. In substance, the petitioner’s prayer is that these suggestions directed to be incorporated in the FCOI by considering his representation.

Court reiterated the judgment in Union of India v. Naveen Jindal, (2004) 2 SCC 510 in which the respondent was stopped from flying the National Flag atop his factory. Before the High Court, he contended that no law could prohibit the flying of the National Flag by Indian citizens. Flying of National Flag with respect and dignity being a fundamental right, the Flag Code which contains only executive instructions of the Government of India and, thus, being not a law, cannot be considered to have imposed reasonable restrictions in respect thereof within the meaning of Clause (2) of Article 19 of the Constitution of India. The Apex Court held that right to fly the National Flag is a fundamental right but subject to restrictions.

The Court held that there is no mandate in the Flag Code that the National Flag should be hoisted on all days on the public buildings. The matter was thus disposed of, observing that no directions can be issued as prayed for by the petitioner. However, the petitioner was granted liberty to pursue his representation before an appropriate legal forum in accordance with law.[Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 858, decided on 26-04-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Modifying the order dated 30.11.2016 where it was directed that all the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem, the 3-Judge Bench of Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagouda, JJ directed that the persons who are wheel chair users, those with autism, persons suffering from cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities, parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, leprosy cured, muscular dystrophy and deaf and blind be treated not to be within the ambit of the said order.

The Court had, on 30.11.2016, laid down certain directions to be followed in order to ensure respect towards the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag as it is the sacred obligation of every citizen to abide by the ideals engrafted in the Constitution and one such ideal is to show respect for the National Anthem and the National Flag. [Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 433, order dated 18.04.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the writ petition where it was prayed a National Policy be framed to promote and propagate the National Anthem, National Song and National Flag in spirit of the Article 51-A to achieve the great golden goals, as set out in Preamble of the Constitution of India, the 3-Judge Bench of Dipak Misra, R.Banumathi and mohan M. Shantanagoudar, JJ said that Article 51-A of the Constitution of India does not refer to ‘National Song’ and only calls for respect towards the National Anthem and National Flag as a fundamental duty.

However, the Court agreed to hear petition on other aspects, including the feasibility of singing /playing the National Anthem and National Song in Schools on every working day and tagged it with Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 129, which relates to the similar matter. [Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 144, order dated 17.02.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Stating that the love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag, the Court issued the following directions:

  • The National Anthem should not be utilized by which the person involved with it either directly or indirectly shall have any commercial benefit or any other benefit.
  • There shall not be dramatization of the National Anthem and it should not be included as a part of any variety show because when the National Anthem is sung or played it is imperative on the part of every one present to show due respect and honour.
  • National Anthem or a part of it shall not be printed on any object and also never be displayed in such a manner at such places which may be disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect because when the National Anthem is sung, the concept of protocol associated with it has its inherent roots in National identity, National integrity and Constitutional Patriotism.
  • All the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.
  • Prior to the National Anthem is played or sung in the cinema hall on the screen, the entry and exit doors shall remain closed so that no one can create any kind of disturbance which will amount to disrespect to the National Anthem. After the National Anthem is played or sung, the doors can be opened.
  • When the National Anthem shall be played in the Cinema Halls, it shall be with the National Flag on the screen.
  • The abridge version of the National Anthem made by any one for whatever reason shall not be played or displayed.

The bench of Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, JJ said that it is the sacred obligation of every citizen to abide by the ideals engrafted in the Constitution and one such ideal is to show respect for the National Anthem and the National Flag. [Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1411, decided on 30.11.2016]