The Kerala High Court has closed a Public Interest Litigation that sought action against Sanjiv Arora, a former Indian Ambassador for allegedly insulting Indian National Flag.
One Dasan had approached the High Court alleging that Sanjiv Arora while he was officiating as the Ambassador of India to Qatar, repeatedly insulted the Indian National Flag by cutting a cake which was decorated with Indian National Flag, with a sword in the presence of high ranking officials of the host country. The petitioner said that he had submitted many complaints regarding this matter to various authorities of the Central Government but no action was taken. Therefore, the petitioner claimed that, he approached the High Court to uphold the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
In his counter affidavit filed before the Court, Arora claimed that the ship officials had brought a ceremonial cake, with decorative pictures of National Flags of India and that he was extremely careful even with the decorative pictures (which is like icing on the cake) of the two Flags and ensured that the sword did not touch either the Indian National Flag or the Qatari National Flag. He submitted that this action was in no way a violation of the Flag Code of India 2002 or of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act.
The bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly noted that the incident had happened in the year 2013. "Even taking it for granted that the act alleged to have been committed is an offence as per Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, cognizance should be taken within three weeks", the Court said referring to Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
As per Section 468, three years is the period of limitation for taking cognizance if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years. Section 2 of the Act imposes a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
The court also noted that the Government of India had also issued a non-recordable warning to him, with a direction to refrain from further action that leads to an insult to he Indian National Flag and any further misconduct of this nature on his part would be liable to attract disciplinary action against him.
"Considering the long lapse of time, retirement of the officer, issuance of non-recordable warning with further directions, as stated above, and taking note of Section 468 of the Cr.P.C., at this length of time, no useful purpose would be serviced in adjudicating the issues raised herein", the bench said while closing the Writ Petition.
Case no.: WP(C).No.24775 OF 2018Case name: Dasan vs. Union of IndiaCoram: Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. ChalyCounsel: ADV. SRI.G.SREEKUMAR (CHELUR), ADV. M.GOPIKRISHNAN NAMBIAR, ASSISTANT SOLICITOR GENERAL
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