NATIONAL FLAG IN SOCIAL MEDIA ROLE OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING MINISTRY ON VIRUS THREATS

Nowadays there is buzz among the people to keep the national flag as the profile pic on various social media such as facebook, twitter, whatsapp etc. Almost half of the people have changed their profile pic to national flag. This shows the wave of patriotism floating around the social media. There were messages floating throughout the social media to keep the National Flag as their profile pic and many peoples have followed that messages and have keep the national flag as their profile pic. Because we see the National Flag as the profile pic in most of the laptops, smart phones, mobiles etc. It looked like a grand celebration of Independence day was going on the social media.

Thereafter another message went viral on the social media saying the image of National Flag contains some sort of virus and installing the national flag the virus will enter the people’s laptop, smart phones, mobiles etc. This created a chaos and confusion among the people. Thereafter the people started removing the National flag from their profile pic. But the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) has not issued any notification whether the messages which being circulated are true or false. The DEITY is responsible for all the matters relating to Electronics and Information Technology. People are very much confused because they are not being properly guided by these authorities. Whether the messages which is being circulated is true or false the appropriate authorities should at least have informed the people so they can be properly guided. This information can be published on newspapers, television or on various social media so that the people can take appropriate measure to prevent it. e-Security:Securing India’s cyber space is one of the major objective of the ministry of information and technology ministry. But in this case we find no guide line given by ministry of information and technology ministry to the social media uses , the role should be active and not passive in view of the alleged threats being given under the name of national flag picture.

citizens assume that this is security breach incidence and it is responsibility to respond to such Security incident.The respond time frame says that the department will Response within 24 hours of receiving the security incident (reasonable time-frame depending upon the severity of incident).In response to such incidence it is responsibility of the ministry and department to Issue security alerts on latest threats and vulnerabilities and also make Publication of alerts within 72 hours of tracking an issue.

One of such message circulated is

मित्रों आजकल आपको एक मेसेज जरुर आता होगा जिसमे एक भारत का झंडा आता है और उसको चित्र को 15 अगस्त तक प्रोफाइल फोटो लगाने का आग्रह किया जाता है।
पर क्या आपने कभी ध्यान दिया की उस झंडे में केसरिया की जगह लाल रंग का प्रयोग हुआ है?
वह फोटो कश्मीरी आतंकवादियों के साइबर हमले का ही अगला कदम है । इसको उन्होंने मोबोला नाम दिया है (मोबाइल एबोला). यह फोटो एक स्लीपर सेल की तरह काम करेगी और इसको 15 अगस्त को जब वो आतंवादी activate करेंगे तब ये आपका सारा निजी data उनको भेज देगी और आपको भनक तक नही लगेगी।
भारत का झंडा अवश्य लगाए पर कोई दूसरी फोटो।
इस मेसेज को जितनी जल्दी हो सके अपने सभी कॉन्टेक्ट्स को फॉरवर्ड करे और भारत को साइबर हमले से बचाए।

जय हिन्द .

In such cases the Government of india and Information and technology ministry should immediately take actions and also make public aware of imminent threats perceived by the social media users.

Afterwards another message was circulated stating that our Indian Constitution does not allow us to keep the National Flag as our profile pic. It also states that it is an offence to keep the National Flag our profile pic. Although no such provision is being given in the Indian Constitution but many people who are not aware about the legal provision believe it and had removed the National flag from their profile pic.

One of the popular case in which the Naveen Jindal, a Joint Managing Director of a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Act.He being in charge of the factory of the said Company situated at Raigarh in Madhya Pradesh was flying National Flag at the office premises of his factory. He was not allowed to do so by the Government officials on the ground that the same is impermissible under the Flag Code of India.

Questioning the said action, the Naveen Jinda filed a writ petition before the High Court, inter alia, on the ground that no law could prohibit flying of National Flag by Indian citizens. Flying of National Flag with respect and dignity being a fundamental right, the Flag Code which contains only executive instructions of the Government of India and, thus, being not a law, cannot be considered to have imposed reasonable restrictions in respect thereof within the meaning of clause (2) of Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

The High Court after hearing the matter held : (1) The question as to whether the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1950 Act’, for the sake of brevity) have been violated or not is a matter which would fall for determination of the court of law and not by the executive; (2) The restrictions imposed by the Flag Code on flying the National Flag being not law within the meaning clause (2) of Article 19 of the Constitution of India, the same cannot be construed to be a penal provision; (3)However, if contravention of any of those instructions and guidelines had been issued under the 1950 Act or under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1971 Act’), the same would constitute a penal offence; (4) Referring to the debates held in the Constituent Assembly as also a passage from the book titled ‘Our National Flag’ by K.V. Singh, the High Court observed that the citizens were required to be educated by issue of Flag Code and the National Flag must be flown in a respectful manner and so long as a citizen of India does so, no restriction can be imposed on the basis of instructions contained in the Flag Code.

The union of india preferred Appeal before supreme court while passing judgment on 23/01/2004 supreme court held that ;

“Right to fly the National Flag freely with respect and dignity is a fundamental right of a citizen within the meaning of Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India being an expression and manifestation of his allegiance and feelings and sentiments of pride for the nation; (ii) The fundamental right to fly National Flag is not an absolute right but a qualified one being subject to reasonable restrictions under clause 2 of Article 19 of the Constitution of India; (iii) The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 regulate the use of the National Flag ; (iv) Flag Code although is not a law within the meaning of Article 13(3)(a) of the Constitution of India for the purpose of clause (2) of Article 19 thereof, it would not restrictively regulate the free exercise of the right of flying the national flag. However, the Flag Code to the extent it provides for preserving respect and dignity of the National Flag, the same deserves to be followed. (v) For the purpose of interpretation of the constitutional scheme and for the purpose of maintaining a balance between the fundamental/legal rights of a citizen vis-`-vis, the regulatory measures/restrictions, both Parts IV and IVA of the Constitution of India can be taken recourse to. For the reasons aforementioned, we do not find any merit in this appeal which is accordingly dismissed. But in the facts and circumstances of this case, there shall be no order as to costs.”

But just by keeping the National Flag as the profile pic on any social media is not an offence. It shows the patriotic feeling of the people. Just by keeping the National Flag as profile pic does not shows any disrespect towards towards our National Flag. We tie the National Flag on our shirt if that is not the insult of the National Flag then how by just keeping it as Profile Pic is considered as an insult towards it. So it is very important that the people are properly guided about the legal provision of our country.

1 reply
  1. Amol Lendave
    Amol Lendave says:

    Very informative article in the cyber age.What is necessary to be done on social media to maintain respect of our national flag.

    Reply

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