Indian citizens can now fly the National Flag even at night, if the flagpole is really tall and the flag itself well illuminated.
The home ministry took the decision following a proposal in this regard by industrialist and Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal, who had earlier won a court battle in the 1990s for flying the national flag (Tiranga) as a fundamental right for every citizen.
In a communication to Jindal, a Congress leader, the ministry said it has examined the proposal and had no objection to installing "giant flagpoles for flying the National Flag day and night at various places".
In a representation to the ministry in June 2009, Jindal had sought permission to fly mammoth-sized national flag on monumental flagpoles during night.
Jindal had said that the National Flag is to be flown in "as far as possible between sunrise and sunset" as per Flag Code of India, but it was a common practice worldwide for massive national flags to be flown day and night on monumental flagpoles of 100 feet and above in height.
Citing the example of countries like Malaysia, Jordon, Abu Dhabi, North Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Turkmenistan where monumental flags are flown at night, Jindal proposed for such flags to be flown in India also.
In response to Jindal's letter, the ministry said that such flagpoles could be installed, provided there was adequate arrangement for proper illumination of flags at night with backup in case of power failure and the flags are replaced immediately as soon as they get damaged due to vagaries of nature. After almost a decade long legal battle initiated by Jindal on behalf of the people of India to give them the right to hoist the national Tricolour (Tiranga) publicly, the Supreme Court in 1996 passed a landmark judgment allowing every citizen to fly the national flag with respect, dignity and honour, thus making it a fundamental right.
Undeterred by directions to remove the National Flag from his factory premises, Jindal fought a seven-year long legal battle and finally emerged victorious in 2002.
The Union government approved the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee headed by P D Shenoy and removed the restrictions on the use of the National Flag by all Indian citizens from January 26, 2002.
The Flag Code, established in 1950, has been amended after the historic and landmark decision of the Union cabinet.
Following the Supreme Court judgment, Jindal also established the 'Flag Foundation of India' to encourage every citizen to associate himself with the Tiranga and to popularise the display of Tiranga by more and more Indians, with a great sense of pride.
He has hoisted the National Flag in the country's tallest flagpole (measuring 206 feet) in Kaithal and Ladwa (Kurukshetra), Hissar and Kurukshetra in Haryana.The flag is 48 feet in breadth and 72 feet in length, and weighs 40 kg.