MHA Bans Plastic National Flags to Ensure Dignified Disposal

The MHA advisory said that plastic flags are not biodegradable and hence do not get decomposed for a long time. 

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File photo of India’s national flag,
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Ahead of the Republic Day, the government on Tuesday, 9 Janurary, urged everyone to not use national flags made of plastic. It also asked the states and Union territories to ensure strict compliance of the flag code.

In an advisory to the states and Union territories, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said that the national flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India, and hence should occupy a position of honour.

The ministry said that it has been brought to its notice that during important events flags made of plastic are used in place of paper flags.

Since the plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, these do not get decomposed for a long time and ensuring their appropriate disposal with dignity is a practical problem, the advisory said.

As per Section 2 of the ‘Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971', whoever within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect or contempt to the Indian national flag or any part of it, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years, or with fine, or with both.

The advisory said that on important national, cultural and sports events, flags made of paper are to be used by the public, according to the provisions of the 'Flag Code of India, 2002', and such paper flags are not to be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event.

Such flags are to be disposed of, in private, consistent with the dignity of the flag. Wide publicity for not using national flags made of plastic should be made along with its advertisement in the electronic and print media.

State governments, UT administrations, and secretaries of all ministries/departments of government of India were told to ensure strict compliance of the provisions contained in the ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’ and the ‘Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971’.

The advisory said that a perceptible lack of awareness is often noticed among the people in regard to laws, practices and conventions that apply to 'display of the national flag'.

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