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Navigating Government Regulations


Government regulations play a crucial role in various aspects of society, including the use and display of flags and to ensure proper usage of flags, governments all around the world have established regulatory frameworks governing flag related activities.

In this blog post, we will explore the different aspects of government regulations in the context of flags, understanding their purpose and impact.

Importance of Flag Regulations

Flag regulations serve multiple purposes, including preserving national identity, maintaining decorum, and protecting symbolic integrity.

The rules set by the government related to the flags helps avoid misuse, misrepresentation and disrespectful handling of flags.

National Flag regulations

Every nation has specific regulations governing the use and display of its national flag, termed as flag code of India. These regulations typically outline the appropriate occasions and methods for hoisting, folding, and saluting the flag.

Flag code of India

Tricolour panel is made up of 3 rectangular panels or sub-panels of equal widths. The colour of the top panel shall be India saffron (Kesari), and that of the bottom panel shall be India green. The middle panel shall be white, bearing at its centre the design of Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes.

The Ashoka Chakra shall preferably be screen printed or otherwise printed or stencilled or suitably embroidered and shall be completely visible on both sides of the Flag in the centre of the white panel.

Flag material

Hand-spun, hand-woven or machine-made cotton/ polyester/ wool/ silk/ khadi bunting.

The ratio of the length to the height (width) of the flag shall be 3:2.

An appropriate size should be chosen for display. The flag of 450 X 300 mm size are intended for aircraft on VVIP flights, 225 X 150 mm size for motor cars and 150 X 100 mm size for table flags.

1. Hoisting the Indian Flag:

The flag should always be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly with dignity.

When hoisting the flag, it should be ensured that it flies freely and does not touch the ground, floor, or water.

The flag should be hoisted at a height in a way that it is visible from all angles.

When the flag is flown on a flagpole, the saffron color should be at the top.

2. Folding the Indian Flag:

The Indian flag should be folded in a specific manner, known as the “triangular folding method.”

Spread the flag flat and hold it horizontally.

Fold the flag in half lengthwise, bringing the lower half of the lengthwise edge to meet the upper half.

Fold the flag again lengthwise in the same manner, bringing the left half to meet the right half.

The folded flag will now be a long, narrow rectangle.

Starting from the end opposite the hoist, fold the flag into a triangle by bringing the outer edge to meet the open edge, forming a right-angled triangle.

Continue folding in triangles until only a small triangle of the saffron color is visible.

Tuck the remaining triangular portion into the folds to secure the flag.

3. Saluting the Indian Flag:

When the flag is being hoisted or lowered during a ceremony, all present should stand at attention.

Individuals in uniform should give the appropriate salute.

Civilians should place their right hand over their heart.

Everyone should maintain a respectful and solemn demeanor during the ceremony.

4. Disposal of flag

As per paragraph 2.2 of the Flag Code of India, if the National Flag is damaged, it shall be destroyed as a whole in private, preferably by burning or other methods considering the dignity of the National Flag.

The National Flag, if made of paper, is waved by the general public, these flags should not be discarded on the ground. These should be discarded in private, keeping in mind the dignity of the National Flag.

5. Flag Desecration Laws:

Many countries have laws prohibiting the desecration or disrespect of national flags. These laws aim to protect the integrity of the flag and prevent its use for inflammatory or offensive purposes. However, flag desecration laws often raise debates about the balance between freedom of expression and the protection of national symbols, highlighting the complexities surrounding flag regulations.

The National Flag shall not be used

as a form of drapery in any form whatsoever, including private funerals.

as a portion of costume or uniform or accessory of any description which is worn below the waist of any person nor shall it be embroidered or printed on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, undergarments, or any dress material.

No lettering upon National Flag.

to cover the sides, back, and top of any vehicle.

to wrap, receive , or deliver things.

Important amendments

There have been several amendments made to the Flag Code of India after 2002. Here are some of the significant ones

In 2005, the Flag Code of India was amended to permit private citizens to fly the national flag on their homes, vehicles, and other personal property, as long as it was done in accordance with the code.

In 2009, the Flag Code of India was amended to allow citizens to hoist the national flag on any day of the year, provided they followed the guidelines laid down in the code.

In 2014, the Flag Code of India was amended to allow the use of the national flag on clothing, uniforms, and costumes worn during cultural and sports events. However, it specified that the flag should not be used in a disrespectful manner, and the design of the flag should not be altered in any way.

In 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a clarification regarding the display of the national flag on electronic media. The clarification stated that the flag should be displayed in a respectful manner and should not be used as a backdrop for any advertisement or for commercial purposes. In addition, the flag should not be displayed in a manner that disrespects it, such as dragging it on the ground or using it as a tablecloth.

In 2017, the Flag Code of India was amended to mandate that all government offices and institutions hoist the national flag on their premises on all working days.

In 2022, clause (xi) of paragraph 2.2 of part II was replaced by the following

Flag material: hand spun or hand-woven or machine-made including polyester flags.

The new code includes displaying the national flag in open areas of the house that can be flown through day and night.

Corporate and Organizational Flags:

Regulations surrounding corporate and organizational flags vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Some countries may have specific guidelines for companies, sports teams, or institutions regarding the design, use and display of their flags.

These regulations often aim to prevent confusion, misrepresentation, or misuse of flags by unauthorized entities.

Cultural Sensitivity and Flag Regulations:

Flag regulations must take cultural sensitivity into account, particularly in diverse societies. Sensitivity towards religious beliefs, historical contexts and indigenous cultures is crucial when designing and implementing flag regulations.

Balancing the need for standardization with cultural inclusivity is a challenge that governments face in order to foster unity and respect within their nations.