J-K HC stays order on hoisting state flag alongside national flag

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A two-judge bench on Friday stayed the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s earlier order on hoisting of state flag alongside national flag on constitutional buildings.

 The stay order comes after a major political storm in the state as the high court had on 27 December, 2015 ruled that Article 370 cannot be repealed or abrogated and called for hoisting state flags on all government buildings and vehicles.

Protests had erupted in Jammu after the Panther’s Party took to the streets, demanding answers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is a ruling partner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), over the judgment.

The previous high court order had said, “It is obligatory on every citizen as well as on every constitutional authority to maintain the sanctity of, and respect, the state flag in terms of the constitutional provisions and the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Insult to State Honours Act, 1979.” The high court had said anybody who contravened or went against the stated constitutional position with regard to the hoisting of the state flag would invite action under law.

The flag of the state is rectangular in shape and red in colour with three equidistant white vertical strips of equal width next to the staff and a white plough in the middle with a handle facing the strips.

Section 144 of the state constitution made it obligatory to hoist the state flag along with the national flag on all government buildings which have offices of constitutional authorities as well as on official vehicles.

Reiterating that Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the Union that has its own flag adopted by its constituent assembly and provided in its constitution, the court had maintained, “The state flag is one of the attributes of constitutional autonomy or limited or residual sovereignty, by whatever name we call it, enjoyed by the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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