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National Flag

    The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel which represents the chakra.

    The top saffron colour, indicates the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The green shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.

    Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes. The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 July 1947.

    It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception. It was discovered or recognised during our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of the Indian National Flag sailed through many vicissitudes to arrive at what it is today.

    The flag, by law, is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth of cotton or silk made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The manufacturing process and specifications for the flag are laid out by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The right to manufacture the flag is held by the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission, who allocate it to the regional groups. As of 2009, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha was the sole manufacturer of the flag.

    Usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India and other laws relating to the national emblems. The original code prohibited use of the flag by private citizens except on national days such as the Independence day and the Republic Day. In 2002, on hearing an appeal from a private citizen, the Supreme Court of India directed the Government of India to amend the code to allow flag usage by private citizens. Subsequently, the Union Cabinet of India amended the code to allow limited usage. The code was amended once more in 2005 to allow some additional use including adaptations on certain forms of clothing. The flag code also governs the protocol of flying the flag and its use in conjunction with other national and non-national flags.

Correct horizontal and vertical display of the flag



Protocol

    Display and usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India, 2002 (successor to the Flag Code India, the original flag code); the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950; and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Insults to the national flag, including gross affronts or indignities to it, as well as using it in a manner so as to violate the provisions of the Flag Code, are punishable by law with imprisonment up to three years, or a fine, or both. Official regulation states that the flag must never touch the ground or water, or be used as a drapery in any form. The flag may not be intentionally placed upside down, dipped in anything, or hold any objects other than flower petals before unfurling. No sort of lettering may be inscribed on the flag. When out in the open, the flag should always be flown between sunrise and sunset, irrespective of the weather conditions. Prior to 2009, the flag could be flown on a public building at night under special circumstances; currently, Indian citizens can fly the flag even at the night, subject to the restriction that the flag should be hoisted on a tall flagpole and be well-illuminated. The flag should never be depicted, displayed or flown upside down. Tradition also states that when draped vertically, the flag should not merely be rotated 90 degrees, but also reversed. One "reads" a flag like the pages of a book, from top to bottom and from left to right, and after rotation the results should be the same. It is considered insulting to display the flag in a frayed or dirty state, and the same rule applies to the flagpoles and halyards used to hoist the flag, which should always be in a proper state of maintenance.

    The original flag code of India did not allow private citizens to fly the national flag except on national days such as Independence Day or Republic Day. In 2001, Naveen Jindal, an industrialist used to the more egalitarian use of the flag in the United States where he studied, flew the Indian flag on his office building. The flag was confiscated and he was warned of prosecution. Jindal filed a public interest litigation petition in the High Court of Delhi; he sought to strike down the restriction on the use of the flag by private citizens, arguing that hoisting the national flag with due decorum and honour was his right as a citizen, and a way of expressing his love for the country. At the end of the appeals process, the case was heard by the Supreme Court of India; the court ruled in Jindal's favour, asking the Government of India to consider the matter. The Union Cabinet of India then amended the Indian Flag Code with effect from 26 January 2002, allowing private citizens to hoist the flag on any day of the year, subject to their safeguarding the dignity, honour and respect of the flag. It is also held that the code was not a statute and restrictions under the code ought to be followed; also, the right to fly the flag is a qualified right, unlike the absolute rights guaranteed to citizens, and should be interpreted in the context of Article 19 of the Constitution of India. The original flag code also forbade use of the flag on uniforms, costumes and other clothing. In July 2005, the Government of India amended the code to allow some forms of usage. The amended code forbids usage in clothing below the waist and on undergarments, and forbids embroidering onto pillowcases, handkerchiefs or other dress material.

    Disposal of damaged flags is also covered by the flag code. Damaged or soiled flags may not be cast aside or disrespectfully destroyed; they have to be destroyed as a whole in private, preferably by burning or by any other method consistent with the dignity of the flag.

Click Here to
    Know more about History of Indian Tricolor
    Know more about The Flag Code of India