What to do with the national flag after Independence Day

Certain rules must be followed while storing or discarding the national flag once you take it down after Independence Day celebrations.
National flags hoisted at homes in Delhi on August 13 as part of Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, what to do with the flag after Independence Day
National flags hoisted at homes in Delhi on August 13 as part of Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, what to do with the flag after Independence Day
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The Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, through which the Union government has urged people to hoist the national flag in their homes from August 13 to 15 to mark the 75th year of India’s independence, ends on Monday. As the campaign ends, those who displayed the Indian flag will begin to take them down after Independence Day. Certain rules will have to be followed while doing so, as per the Flag Code of India 2002, which lays down the conventions to be followed not just to display the flag but also to remove and store it, or to dispose or destroy it when needed. 

Storing the flag

After taking down the flag, if you plan to store it, there is a specific way in which it must be folded. After placing it horizontally, the saffron and green bands must be folded under the white band, in such a way that strips of orange and green must be seen. Then, the white band itself must be folded from either side towards the centre so that only the Ashoka Chakra, and parts of the saffron and green bands, can be seen. The flag thus folded must then be carried on your palms or arms and stored. 

Disposing a damaged flag

If the national flag is damaged or soiled, the Flag Code of India says “it shall be destroyed as a whole in private, preferably by burning or any other method considering the dignity of the National Flag.”

Disposing a paper flag

While flags made of paper are also allowed to be waved by the public during important national and cultural events according to the Flag Code, these paper flags should not be discarded on the ground, it says. Like damaged flags, they must be discarded in private, “keeping in mind the dignity of the National Flag.”

Other things to keep in mind

Apart from the Flag Code of India, there are a few other rules to prevent insult to the national flag under The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Violations under this Act can result in a fine or imprisonment up to three years. 

Some of the rules to keep in mind say that the national flag – 

> Cannot be used as a form of drapery in any form whatsoever (except in state funerals or armed forces or other para-military forces funerals)

> Cannot be used as a portion of costume, uniform or accessory of any kind worn below the waist of any person

> Cannot be embroidered or printed on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, undergarments or any dress material

> Cannot have any lettering or inscription on it

> Cannot be used to wrap, carry, receive, or deliver things (except flower petals before it is unfurled as part of celebrations on occasions like Republic Day, Independence Day etc.)

> Cannot be used as covering for a statue or a monument or a speaker’s desk or a speaker’s platform

> Cannot be allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water intentionally

> Cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back or on a vehicle, train, boat or aircraft or any other similar object

> Cannot be used as a covering for a building

> Cannot be intentionally displayed with the “saffron” down

Ahead of the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, the Union government made certain amendments to the Flag Code of India, which have been criticised for taking employment opportunities from those who are traditionally employed to make and distribute flags. An amendment in July 2022 allowed the national flag to be flown both during the day and at night in the house of a member of the public, while earlier it was only allowed to be hoisted between sunrise and sunset. In December 2021, another amendment was made to allow not just handspun or handwoven flags but also machine-made ones using polyester. Other materials allowed include cotton, wool, silk, and khadi bunting. 

Watch: The Har Ghar Tiranga campaign and changes to the flag code on Let Me Explain 

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