The Allahabad High Court has sought the response of the State Government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea praying that the National Flag be hoisted/flown on Gram Panchyat buildings every day (365 days)
The bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Rajnish Kumar issued this order on a PIL plea moved by the petitioner in person Chandra Bhushan Pandey who submitted that since Panchayat Bhawan in every Gram Panchayat falls within the meaning of "Important Public Buildings, therefore, they shall be allowed to hoist national flag on all 365 days of the year.
To substantiate his argument, Pandey referred to paragraph 3.39 of Part III, Section VIII of Flag Code of India which states that the National Flag should be flown only on important public buildings such as High Courts, Secretariats, Commissioners' Offices, Collecorates, Jails and offices of the District Boards, Municipalities and Zila Parishads and Deparmental/Pubolic Sector Undertakings.
Further, referring to Article 243G of the Constitution of India, Pandey contended that the Legislature of the State shall by law confer certain powers on Panchayats as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of Self Government.
"...since in terms of Article 243G, the State Government has to enact the law permitting the Panchayats to discharge certain functions which includes preparations of plan for economic development and social justice and also implementation of certain schemes of economic development and social justice, hence Panchayat Bhawan in every Gram Panchayat certainly falls within the meaning of Important Public Buildings," Pandey further submitted.
Accordingly, in view of the aforesaid, the Court directed the state Counsel to seek complete instructions from the Department of Culture as well as from the Department of Panchayati Raj by the next date of listing (August 22, 2022).
"While considering the aforesaid issues, the State Government should also be conscious of two Central Legislations, namely, The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950," the Court further directed.
In the meantime, the Court permitted the Gram Panchayats to hoist the National Flag from 11th to 17th August, 2022 while celebrating "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" in terms of the instructions and guidelines issued by the Chief Secretary, Government of U.P. which are embodied in the Circular/ Order dated 01.06.2022.
It may be noted that the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued certain directions for organizing "Har Ghar Tiranga" programme during "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" and accordingly the Chief Secretary, State of U.P. has issued certain directions in this regard by means of Circular/Order dated 01.06.2022 giving instructions for hoisting the National Flag during "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav".
Before the Court, the State's counsel submitted that from 11.08.2022 to 17.08.2022 every household is not only permitted but has been required to hoist the National Flag. It was also informed to the Court that the Circular covers the Gram Panchayats also which shall be able to hoist National Flag from 11.08.2022 to 17.08.2022 on the Gram Panchayat Bhawans.
Case title - Chandra Bhushan Pandey v. State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy. Govt. Of U.P. Deptt. Of Panchayati Raj Lko. And 8 Others