There is no precedent of any state in India having a separate flag, barring Jammu and Kashmir which enjoys a special status, but the Constitution does not provide for or against it, a government official said on Friday.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had on Thursday unveiled the proposed official flag of the state and said his government would send the proposal for Centre’s approval.
The Flag Code of India and the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act refer only to the tricolour and there is no mention of any other flag, the official said requesting anonymity. Jammu and Kashmir has a separate flag because of the special status it enjoys under Article 370 of the Constitution.
The official insisted India as a nation has only one flag, and there will be “chaos” if tomorrow some states or some districts or some villages start seeking separate flags.
When asked for a comment, a Home Ministry spokesperson said, “We have not received any such proposal from the Karnataka government (yet) so it is premature to say anything on the subject.”
Another government official indicated that a regulatory framework has to be brought into existence to deal with such a situation so that a decision could be taken as per the law and Constitutional provisions.
“We are one nation, one flag. Legally there is no provision either for providing or prohibiting a separate flag for any state,” the official, who wished not to be named, said.
The separate flag that Karnataka already has represents only the “people and not the government”, he said, adding it was not used at ceremonies like Republic Day or Independence Day but on occasions like the state’s foundation day.
The ‘Naada Dwaja’ (state’s flag) unveiled by Siddaramaiah is in hues of yellow, white and red, and has the state’s emblem ‘Gandaberunda’, a two-headed mythological bird, at its centre.
Siddaramaiah unveiled the flag after chairing a meeting of pro-Kannada organisations, activists and literary personalities, where they unanimously approved the design. It was decided to have a flag for the state as a symbol of pride of Kannada speaking people, he said, adding “it was the intention, opinion and voice of Kannadigas.”
A committee formed by the state government last year had recommended a separate flag for Karnataka, discounting any constitutional or legal hurdles.