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Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act

Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act
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Global e-tailer giant Amazon has withdrawn the doormats bearing the Indian national flag, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on...

Global e-tailer giant Amazon has withdrawn the doormats bearing the Indian national flag, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday. It corrected itself following warning by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to deny visas to its employees. Earlier too, it was forced to withdraw footmats that had designs on Hindu deities and images.

The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, extends to the whole of India. It bans insult to Indian National Flag and Constitution of India. The act was legislated to prevent dishonour to National symbols which shall include which shall include the Indian Constitution, National anthem and National Flag. The Act was amended vide Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act, 2005 and Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act, 2003. The Act extends to whole of India.

The Act is in consonance to Article 51 (A)(a) of the Indian Constitution which lays down the fundamental duty to respect and abide constitution, national anthem and national flag. Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

However, comments expressing disapprobation or criticism of the Constitution or of the Indian National Flag or of any measures of the Government with a view to obtain an amendment of the Constitution of India or an alteration of the Indian National Flag by lawful means do not constitute an offence under this section.

The expression "Indian National Flag" includes any picture, painting, drawing or photograph, or other visible re- presentation of the Indian National Flag, or of any part or parts thereof, made of any substance or represented on any substance. The expression "public place" means any place intended for use by, or accessible to, the public and includes any public conveyance. Also, whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

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