NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of the debate over nationalism, the Centre has asked states to ensure strict compliance with laws relating to respecting the national anthem and flag.
Violation of laws pertaining to the matter can attract upto three years’ imprisonment.
The Ministry of Home Affairs in a communication to all states and union territories has said that it has received complaints from various quarters and directed state governments to ensure that the honour of the national anthem and flag is protected.
A copy each of The Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act, 1971 and Flag Code of India, 2002 are enclosed in the letter to the states and union territories asking them to ensure strict compliance with provisions contained in the Act and the Flag Code. The offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term of three years, or fine, or both.
The Centre’s directive comes amid a raging debate over nationalism.
“The national anthem of India is played or sung on various occasions. Instructions have been issued from time to time about the correct versions of the anthem, the occasions on which these are to be played or sung and about the need for paying respect to the anthem by observance of proper decorum on such occasions,” the directive said.
Referring to the national flag, the Ministry of Home Affairs letter said its attention has been drawn to the national flag made of plastic being used in place of paper flags at important events.
Since plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, these do not get decomposed for a long time and are harmful to the environment.