Only a Demented Mind Can Do ThisThe picture reproduced above can only be the work of a demented mind and can make the blood of all Indians boil with rage. For, who in their right mind would show such disrespect to the national flag?
By Sunil Garodia
India has a comprehensive law, Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 (as amended in 2005) that deals with such offences. The relevant sections are reproduced here for public awareness :
INSULT TO INDIAN NATIONAL FLAG AND CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Explanation 1 â Comments expressing disapprobation or criticism of the Constitution or of the Indian National Flag or of any measures of the Government with a view to obtain an amendment of the Constitution of India or an alteration of the Indian National Flag by lawful means do not constitute an offence under this section.
Explanation 2 â The expression, âIndian National Flagâ includes any picture, painting, drawing or photograph, or other visible representation of the Indian National Flag, or of any part or parts thereof, made of any substance or represented on any substance.
Explanation 3 â The expression âpublic placeâ means any place intended for use by, or accessible to, the public and includes any public conveyance.
Explanation 4 - The disrespect to the Indian National flag means and includesâ
(a) a gross affront or indignity offered to the Indian National Flag; or
(b) dipping the Indian National Flag in salute to any person or thing; or
(c) flying the Indian National Flag at half-mast except on occasions on which the Flag is flown at half-mast on public buildings in accordance with the instructions issued by the Government; or
(d) using the Indian National Flag as a drapery in any form whatsoever except in state funerals or armed forces or other para-military forces funerals; or
(e) using the Indian National Flag:- (i) as a portion of costume, uniform or accessory of any description which is worn below the waist of any person; or (ii) by embroidering or printing it on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, undergarments or any dress material; or
(f) putting any kind of inscription upon the Indian National Flag; or
(g) using the Indian National Flag as a receptacle for receiving, delivering or carrying anything except flower petals before the Indian National Flag is unfurled as part of celebrations on special occasions including the Republic Day or the Independence Day; or
(h) using the Indian National Flag as covering for a statue or a monument or a speakerâs desk or a speakerâs platform; or
(i) allowing the Indian National Flag to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water intentionally; or
(j) draping the Indian National Flag over the hood, top, and sides or back or on a vehicle, train, boat or an aircraft or any other similar object; or
(k) using the Indian National Flag as a covering for a building; or
(l) intentionally displaying the Indian National Flag with the âsaffronâ down.
PREVENTION OF SINGING OF NATIONAL ANTHEM
Whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
MINIMUM PENALTY ON SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT OFFENCE
Whoever having already been convicted of an offence under section 2 or section 3 is again convicted of any such offence shall be punishable for the second and for every subsequent offence, with imprisonment for a term, which shall not be less than one year.
The Chennai police have arrested the man in the picture and the law will take its own course.
It needs to be pointed out that the act does not consider remaining seated or otherwise showing disrespect when the National Anthem is being sung as an offence. There was a controversy recently in Mumbai when a family that remained seated when the Anthem flashed on the screen in a movie hall was heckled and asked to leave the hall.
Also, the act does not say that using the strains of the National Anthem in any kind of commercial venture, signature tune or a song is disrespectful.
These two anomalies should be addressed. Standing to show respect when the National Anthem is being sung should be made compulsory and commercial exploitation of its musical notes or lyrics should be prohibited.
Finally, the penalty for second or subsequent offence is too low. A second offence should make the person lose all facilities he enjoys being an Indian, like subsidies or exemptions in Income Tax and make him ineligible for government jobs, contracts or bank loans, while subsequent offences should entail cancellation of the passport for 10 years and enhanced jail terms.