The Orissa High Court on Wednesday banned use of national flags made of plastic, a move that will address rising concerns over not only insult to the Tricolour, but also environmental degradation caused by such activities.
A division bench of Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice I Mohanty directed the State Government to take steps to prevent sale and distribution of the Tricolour made of any other material barring those permitted under the Flag Code of India, 2002.
Acting on a writ petition filed by advocate Shivsankar Mohanty, the court ordered strict implementation of the Flag Code, which specifies that Tricolour should be made of hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting and paper in standard sizes.
The court issued notice to the State and the Central governments along with the State Pollution Control Board directing them to submit responses within three weeks. Petitioner Mohanty had raised objections to rampant use of plastic flags on Independence Day and Republic Day. “With a sense of national pride, people enthusiastically buy such flags, but the very next day, we find those flags lying strewn on the roads, in dustbins and elsewhere, and being trampled under the feet. Often, these flags are burnt along with garbage”, he submitted.
The Tricolour, particularly the smaller ones waved by the public during major events, could not be disposed of in the manner prescribed under the Flag Code for upholding the honour and dignity of the National flag, Mohanty added.
He alleged that despite several representations to the State Government, no action was taken either to curb the misuse or create awareness among the people. “On the one hand, the State Government is enforcing the ban on manufacture, sale, storage and use of polythene for protection of environment, but on the other, there is no restriction on use of plastic flags by thousands.
Not a single drive has been conducted by the Government to educate people on the issue and prevent dishonour of the national flag”, he stated.
Mohanty had urged a total ban on sale and use of plastic flags in the State and to launch a Government-led movement to generate awareness among the people.