SC fiat to Centre, BCCI on disrespect to national flag

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the Indian cricket board on allegations that authorities have failed to protect the honour of the national flag during matches.

The court also issued notices to West Bengal government and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) as the plea mentioned incidents of alleged disrespect and dishonour to the national flag at the Eden Gardens during the third Test match between India and England from December 5 to 9, 2012 and India- Pakistan ODI match held on January 3, 2013.

"We agree that photographs depict serious concern," a bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said and asked all the respondents to file their response within four weeks.

The petition filed by Kamal Dey, Editor and Publisher of Barta Nyay, sought stay of Calcutta High Court decision which had held that there was no deliberate disrespect of the national flag.

His counsel placed the photographs of draping of the Indian flag either on the shoulder or on the head contending that such acts amount to blatant violations of the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and the Flag Code of India, 2002 regarding use of the national flag.

The petitioner submitted that there should be strict guidelines for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and others associated with the game for observing directions given by the Constitution including the Act of 1971 and the Flag Code of 2002.

In the PIL, the petitioner challenged the January 14 verdict of the high court which had said, "Considering the event of national importance during the cricket matches between India and England and India and Pakistan, the spectators were carrying the flag to mark their expression of Indian pride.

"Their intention was not to disrespect the same. They have not used it as only cloth to wrap the body, however, while carrying it they might have unintentionally put it on shoulders etc. However, such act in the facts and circumstances of the case cannot be treated as such amounting to deliberate disrespect in violation of Flag Code of 2002 and the Honours Act of 1971," the high court had said.