Industrialist Naveen Jindal, who is also the President of the Flag Foundation of India, on Sunday welcomed the latest amendment to the Flag Code of India 2002 by the Indian government.
With the latest amendment, a common citizen can now hoist and unfurl the national flag 24 hours a day (day and night) at their homes and office locations. Earlier, in 2009, the government had permitted that the tricolour can be flown day and night on ‘giant flagpoles with proper illuminance and power backup’ after Naveen Jindal had given a representation to the government.
Reacting to the new amendment in the flag code, Jindal tweeted, “This is a very progressive decision. This amendment to the Flag Code of India, will definitely encourage more and more people to display the Tiranga with dignity and pride on all days of the year and will also give a boost to the #HarGharTiranga campaign. Jai Hind”.
Flag Foundation of India said that it had always been ‘Shri Naveen Jindal’s dream to see the tiranga reach every house in the country and he has appealed to the people to display it with pride and take inspiration from our tiranga.’
Successive governments have, time and again, amended the rules to ensure the flag reaches more and more people by allowing people to wear the flag, monumental flags, recent amendment in the flag code for cloth material and now this amendment to fly the flag 24 hours. Flag Foundation of India has given representations and written letters to the Ministry of Home Affairs asking for the same in the past.
The FFI said that it was ‘indeed a proud moment for each one of us.’ It is worth mentioning that till 2004, ordinary citizens were not allowed to display the national flag except on select days.
A decade-long legal struggle by Jindal ensured that all Indians had the right to display the tiranga on all days of the year with dignity and pride. His struggle for the tricolour began in early 1992 when he hoisted the national flag at his plant in Raigarh.
The then Commissioner of Bilaspur objected to it on the ground that, as per the Flag Code of India, a private citizen was not permitted to fly the Indian flag except on certain days.
This prompted Jindal to file a petition before the high court arguing that no law could forbid Indian citizens from flying the national flag. The high court allowed the petition and held that the Flag Code of India was not a valid restriction on the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian constitution.
The Union of India filed an appeal against this decision in the Supreme Court on whether citizens were free to fly the national flag was only a policy decision, and could not be subject to court interference.
The matter then came up for hearing before the Supreme Court, which observed that prima facie they saw no reason why citizens could not express patriotism by displaying the national flag.
The court also observed that restrictions on flying the national flag only on certain days by private citizens seemed unsustainable. The Supreme Court on 23 January 2004 dismissed civil Appeal No. 2920 of 1996 arising out of SLP No. 1888 of 1996 filed by the Union of India against the judgment and order dated 22 September 1995 of Delhi High Court and held that flying the national flag was a symbol of expression that came within the right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.