HC quashes FIR against a schoolteacher for desecration of national flag; he was unable to take the flag down after Republic Day ceremony in 2010 because he fainted
Two years ago, an overzealous patriot got offended after a teacher failed to take down the national flag after Republic Day celebrations in his school because he had fainted. Unable to take what he thought was a slight to the flag, he lodged an FIR against the teacher for violating the flag code. The Bombay High Court, however, quashed the FIR yesterday.
Waving flag: In 2010, Amgonda Pandhare, a teacher at the Zilla Parishad
Primary School in Sonlagi village in Sangli district, went home after the
R-Day ceremony, thinking he'd return to the school before sunset to lower
the flag. However, he was suddenly seized with spasms and collapsed
unexpectedly at home. Representation Pic
In 2010, Amgonda Pandhare, a teacher at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in Sonlagi village in Sangli district, went home after the R-Day ceremony, thinking he'd return to the school before sunset to lower the flag, as per the protocol set out in the Flag Code of India, 2002 (which was merged in the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971). However, he was suddenly seized with spasms and collapsed unexpectedly at home.
According to Amgonda's criminal writ petition heard by a bench comprising Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode, bystanders rushed a convulsing Amgonda to hospital. There, he was advised by doctors to rest for the remaining days of the month. So he informed his brother and another assistant teacher to arrange to have the flag taken down.
The teacher claims that his instructions apparently fell on deaf ears, as the flag was not taken down. That same evening, one Appaso Pandhare lowered the flag himself at 6.30 pm and proceeded to register an FIR against Amgonda.
According to Amgonda's advocate, Manjiri Parasnis, it was the school authorities that had, on account of internal politics, urged Appaso to pursue action against the petitioner.
Parasnis argued, "There is a misunderstanding of the flag code and the provisions of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act. The actions of the petitioner were beyond his control and do not constitute an offence. Moreover, the flag code itself is not a law as such."
Flag Code of India, 2002:
A member of public, a private organisation or an educational institution may hoist/display the national flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag �Where the flag is displayed in open, it should, as far as possible, be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of weather conditions.