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Nationalism and subnationalism in separate Kannada flag

Topics Covered:

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.


Nationalism and subnationalism in separate Kannada flag


What to study?

For Prelims: Constitutional and legal provisions in this regard.

For Mains: Concern over separate state flags and the need for a comprehensive framework on this.


Context: Karnataka government has indicated that it may not pursue with the Centre a proposal made by the earlier government, for a separate state flag.


Is there any provision in the constitution prohibiting a state from having its own flag? 

Supreme Court has said that there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag. However, the manner in which the state flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag.

Under the Constitution, a flag is not enumerated in the Seventh Schedule. However, Article 51A rules that every citizen shall abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag, and the national anthem.


Is it regulated under any parliamentary Act?

The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 regulates the hoisting of the national flag.

Emblems and Names (Prevention of improper use) Act 1950 prohibits the use of National Symbols for commercial use in India.

Under the 1971 Act, insulting the national flag by burning it, mutilating it, defacing it, is prohibited.

Even the Flag Code of India, 2002 does not impose prohibitions on a State flag. The Code expressly authorises the flying of other flags under the condition that they should not be hoisted from the same masthead as the national flag or placed higher than it.

By implication, the Code provides space for a State flag as long as it does not offend the dignity and honour of the national flag.


Can states have their own flags?

  1. Allowing one state to have its own flag could trigger demands from other states too.
  2. Arguments in favour of the decision stresses on the fact that states in both Germany and USA have their own flags without any danger of their imminent disintegration.


Sources: the Hindu.