Can States have their own Flag ? UPSC MAINS LAW OPTIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS


CAN THE STATES HAVE THEIR OWN FLAG?


WHAT IS A FLAG ? Flags are country symbol that show we belong to a community, organisation or nation and that we share beliefs, goals, rules and regulations.


HOW THIS FLAG CULTURE STARTED ?

Cultural symbol :In earlier centuries certain groups of people had decorated spears and decorated staff which showed their cultural symbols.


Proclamation of sovereignty :The early explorers always put sculptures up when they landed on unknown land to proclaim their sovereignty over the land discovered.


BUT ! later they used flags to proclaim their presence or show the sovereignty and also use them as cultural symbol.


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FLAG AND INDIA

CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY ON NATIONAL FLAG : Indian flag was to be the flag of the Nation, not the flag of any particular community, but the Flag of all Indians.


THE MOOT QUESTION NOW !!!! When flag symbolise a nation can separate states which forms a part of a single union can have their own flag ?


WHY THIS QUESTION IS ASKED NOW? Karnataka government wants its own state flag. Is it allowed or not ?


WAS THERE ANY STATE PRIOR TO KARNATAKA HAD A FLAG/ WANTED ONE? State of Jammu and Kashmir is only State in the Union that has its own Flag.


WHY SUCH PRIVILEGE ? This autonomy was adopted by its Constituent Assembly, and provided in our Constitution.


WHETHER KARNATAKA AND JAMMU AND KASHMIR HOLDS SAME POSITION ? No unlike Karnataka, State of Jammu and Kashmir enjoy internal autonomy since independence as per our Constitution itself. Karnataka has no such special provision and it is same as all states in India.


WHAT CONSTITUTION SAYS ? WHETHER NORMAL STATES CAN HAVE A FLAG ?

  • Under the Constitution, a flag is not enumerated in the Seventh Schedule( 3 list).

  • Article 51A ordains that every citizen shall abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag, and the national anthem.

There is no other provision regulating hoisting of flags, either by the States or by the public.


THEREFORE : It is clear that there is no prohibition under the Constitution to hoist any flag other than the national flag.


WHAT LEGISLATION SAY ?


PARLIAMENTARY LEGISLATIONS : Legislation enacted by the parliament are in nature of prohibiting the insult to national flag.


THEREFORE: one can safely assume that there is no prohibition on the state to enact its own flag.


WHY STATES SHOULD NOT HAVE THEIR OWN FLAG ?

  • In India, State boundaries are demarcated on the basis of linguistic homogeneity. This has naturally generated aspirations in the States for promoting their own languages and cultures.

NOTE : It is, therefore, natural for them to have symbols to recognise, protect and promote their own languages and cultures. Then why can’t they have their own flag ?

  • Having a separate flag is not going to be an affront to national integration.

HELPS FEDERALISM : On the contrary, a separate flag for each State would strengthen the federal structure and serve as a symbol for a much more specific identity.


WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT ?

  • All the 50 States in the U.S. have separate and distinct flags, apart from the national flag.

  • In the U.K., the political units of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own flags without offending or affecting the integrity of the U.K.

  • In India, even the Army, Navy, Air Force, and paramilitary forces have separate flags.

CONCLUSION :

Karnataka is justified and constitutionally empowered to adopt its own flag to uphold the pride of the State without infringing the law.

  • Democracy and federalism are essential features of the Constitution and are part of its basic structure.

  • It is the democratic right of Karnataka to assert its identity through a separate name, emblem and flag.

  • SR. Bommaivs Union of India case, the Supreme Court had declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere.

This being the constitutional position, 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 dishonor the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag.



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