Indian citizens can now fly the National Flag even at night.
This is subject to the condition that the flagpole is really tall and the flag itself well-illuminated.
The home ministry took the decision following a proposal in this regard by industrialist Naveen Jindal, who had earlier won a court battle in the 1990s for flying the National Flag (Tiranga) as a fundamental right for every citizen.
In a communication to Jindal, also a Congress leader and Member of Parliament, the ministry said it has examined the proposal and had no objection to installing “giant flagpoles for flying the National Flag day and night at various places.” In a representation to the ministry in June 2009, Jindal had sought permission to fly the mammoth-sized National Flag on monumental flagpoles during night.
Jindal had said the National Flag is to be flown in “as far as possible between sunrise and sunset” according to the Flag Code of India, but it was a common practice worldwide for massive national flags to be flown day and night on monumental flagpoles of 100 feet and above in height.
Citing the example of countries like Malaysia, Jordon, Abu Dhabi, North Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Turkmenistan where monumental flags are flown at night, Jindal proposed for such flags to be flown in India also. In response to Jindal’s letter, the ministry said such flagpoles could be installed, provided there was adequate arrangement for proper illumination of flags at night with backup in case of power failure and the flags are replaced immediately as soon as they get damaged due to vagaries of nature.
After almost a decade long legal battle initiated by Jindal on behalf of the people of India to give them the right to hoist the national tricolour (Tiranga) publicly, the Supreme Court in 1996 passed a landmark judgement allowing every citizen to fly the National Flag with respect, dignity and honour, thus making it a fundamental right. Undeterred by directions to remove the National Flag from his factory premises, Jindal fought a 7-year long legal battle and finally emerged victorious in 2002.
The Union Government approved the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee headed by P D Shenoy and removed the restrictions on the use of the National Flag by all Indian citizens from January 26, 2002. The Flag Code, established in 1950, has been amended after the historic and landmark decision of the Union Cabinet.