Government of India, India, Nationalism, Stories

How well do you know our Flag Code?


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regularly issues an advisory to all the State/UT governments to give wide publicity to the rules governing the display of the National Flag to increase awareness of the Flag Code of India. How well do you know our Flag Code?

The Flag Code of India, 2002 is a compilation of all the laws, conventions, practices, instructions & guidelines that govern the display of the National Flag. Knowingly or unknowingly, many citizens violate the flag code. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regularly issues advisories to all States & Union Territories to ensure strict compliance of the flag code on important national events. Even this year, an advisory was issued recently. But, how well do you know the Flag Code?

Size & Shape of the National Flag

The National Flag should be rectangular in shape with the ratio of length to the width as 3:2. There are various standard sizes of the national flag prescribed by the flag code. An appropriate size is to be chosen for display. 450X300 mm size is to be used for aircrafts on VVIP flights,  225X150 mm size for motor-cars and 150X100 mm size for table flags.

Flag Code of size shape of flag

Rules governing Display of  National Flag by Citizens, Private & Educational Organizations

There is no restriction on the display of National Flag by members of the general public, private organizations, educational institutions etc provided they follow all the prescribed rules. The following important things have to be kept in mind.

  • The flag should not be used for commercial purposes
  • The flag should not be dipped to salute any person
  • The flag should not be used as a portion of costume or uniform. It should not be embroidered or printed on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or any dress material
  • No lettering of any kind should be put on the flag
  • The flag should not be used as a receptacle for receiving, delivering, holding or carrying anything
  • The flag should not be intentionally displayed with ‘saffron’ down
  • The flag should not be used to cover a speaker’s desk and it should not be draped over a speaker’s platform
  • A damaged or dishevelled flag should not be used
  • The flag should only be displayed from sun-rise to sun-set

Display over Public Buildings/Official Residences

The National Flag should be flown only on important public buildings such as High Courts, Secretariats, Commissioners’ Offices, Collectorates, Jails and offices of the District Boards, Municipalities and Zilla Parishads and Departmental/Public Sector Undertakings. The flag shall be flown on these buildings on all days including Sundays and will be flown from sun-rise to sun-set irrespective of weather conditions

The National Flag should be flown on the official residences of the President, Vice- President, Governors and Lieutenant Governors when they are at Headquarters and on the building in which they stay during their visits to places outside the Headquarters.

The Flag should be flown from sun-rise to sun-set on such official residences, irrespective of whether the dignitary is at Headquarters or not on the –Republic Day, Independence Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, National Week (6th to 13th April, in the memory of martyrs of Jalianwala Bagh), any other particular day of national rejoicing as may be specified by the Government of India or, in the case of a State, on the anniversary of formation of that State.

Display on Motor Cars

The privilege of flying the National Flag on motor cars is limited to the following. When a foreign dignitary travels in a car provided by Government, the National Flag will be flown on the right side of the car and the Flag of the foreign countries will be flown on the left side of the car.

Flag Code of display on motor cars

Avoid Plastic Flags & Display paper Flags

The MHA has advised avoiding plastic flags since plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags and do not get decomposed for a long time. Moreover, ensuring appropriate disposal of National Flags made of plastic commensurate with dignity of the flag, is a practical problem.  Flags made of paper can be used by public and such paper Flags should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. Such Flags are to be disposed of, in private, consistent with the dignity of the Flag. The MHA advised States/UTs to give wide publicity, for not using the National Flag made of plastic.

Insult to the National Flag will attract a prison term of 3 years

As per Section 2 of ‘The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971’– Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view bums, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or any part shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine, or with both.

Featured Image: Red Fort on Independence Day


About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.

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