The High Court directed the government to seek “complete instructions” from the Department of Culture as well as the Department of Panchayati Raj by August 22, the next date of hearing.
While considering the issue, the court said the state should also take into account two central legislations – The Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971 and The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.
The PIL, filed by one Chandra Bhushan Pandey, is being heard even as the prime minister has launched a nationwide ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ (Tricolour in each house) campaign to exhort everyone to hoist the national flag between August 13 and 15, for which a special circular has been issued this time.
Village panchayats are at present allowed to hoist the flag only twice a year – on Republic Day and Independence Day. According to the Flag Code of India, the tricolor should be flown only on important public buildings such as high courts, secretariats, commissioners’ offices , collectors, jails, among other offices.
However, the petitioner has argued that after the insertion of Part IX in the Constitution, village panchayats have also been given constitutional status and can thus be treated as a public office for the purposes of the Flag Code.