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This Article is written by Samridhi Srivastava student of Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida. This article will give an insight into the proper usage of the State emblem issued by the government.

Introduction 

The State Emblem of India is the adaptation from the Ashoka Pillar which is located in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. It is the representation of the Republic India beholding the motto of Satyameva Jayate which means that the truth prevails. The Government of India uses it as a stamp on its official documents for official usage and the State Emblem of India Act, 2005 states that only an authorized body has the authority to use it and no one else can imitate it. 

This act specifies the usage and the unacceptable usage of the emblem which is considered to be a punishable offence. This article will give an insight into the proper usage of the State emblem of India and also the prohibition of its misuse along with the penalty charged if found guilty. 

Significance of the State emblem

The State emblem of India is also referred to as the national emblem which is used by the Government of India as a bureautic symbol on their official papers. It was sanctioned in our constitution and on other governmental functionaries on 26th January 1950. At the international level, the symbol of the state emblem is printed on the passport, and a person who is the holder of the passport is signified as the citizen of the Republic of India. 

The design of India’s State emblem consists of four lions who are attached to one another and only three of them are visible. This figure is mounted on a platform on which a few other figures are sculptured. The other figures consist of an Ashoka chakra or wheel which is in the middle and on the right side there is a bull and on the left side, there is an elephant. The state emblem of India is incomplete without the Satyameva Jayatey slogan which means truth prevails. This slogan is inscribed just below the figure, written in Devanagari letter. 

India is not the only country in the world with its State emblem, there are other countries also who have adopted their own national symbol which gives them an identity and distinguishes them from the rest. For instance, Afghanistan has a lion as its State emblem, Canada has a maple leaf, China has a dragon, Green land has a polar bear, etc. 

Regulation of the States emblem in India 

As per Section 6 of The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005  states that the Central Government has the power to regulate it and they are as following:

  1. The Central Government can specify the technique of printing of the emblem on official stationeries of the various governmental dignitaries such as members of Parliament, legislative assembly, etc. 
  2. Specifying the designs of the emblem which is to be used as an official stamp. 
  3. Restriction of displaying the national emblem on the vehicles of foreign diplomats and others who are fundamental officials i.e., the Central Government and the State Government ministers. 
  4. The guidelines for presenting the emblem on general edifice in India will also be advised by the Central Government. 
  5. The circumstances for the usage of the national emblem regarding different objectives including for education and the armed forces are to be specified by the Central Government.

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Prohibitory usage of the emblem

The usage of the emblem by any private body is prohibited as per Section 3 of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 because it could give a wrong impression to the general public of being associated with the Central Government or the State Government.

The Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act,1950, and the Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Rules, 1982 also regulate the national symbols which are to be used by the governmental authorities such as emblem, national flags, etc on their official documents. As when any non-governmental official uses such symbols for advertisement or business purposes the mind of the common people gets confused with the authenticity of such publications and to protect the common man from being exploited these acts were introduced.  As per Rule 10 of the State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007 following are the personnel or associations who are restricted from the usage of national emblem or flag. They are: 

  1. A person who is no longer a working dignitary under the Parliament and judiciary or any other governmental posts is not allowed to use the national emblem. 
  2. Any non-governmental institution, PSU’s, Gram Panchayat, Educational establishments, etc., who are directly not related to the government are not allowed to employ it.
  3. No person or an association is permitted to use the national emblem on their badges, brochure, notification, newsletter, or in any other form. 
  4. If the national emblem is used on any stationary like on visiting cards it should not have titles of the job in which he is associated with also it should not contain his name.  

As per Section 4 of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 no individual or an organization is allowed to use the national emblem for registering their business or register it for patent or any other purposes until unless the Central Government gives any such permission. 

Also, Section 5 of the Act prohibits the registration authorities for registering any business or trade or patent which consists of the emblem. The Central Government has the power to give the final decision regarding the grant of permission of usage of the national emblem.       

Permitted usage of the emblem 

The Government of India provides guidelines for specific usage or display of the national emblem so that any individual who is not related to the functioning of the government cannot misrepresent himself as a dignitary of the government. As per Rule 12 of the State Emblems of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007 the availability of the design of the national emblem at a particular shop and location is given along with the prescribed methodology of printing it on any document, notifications, stationery object or on any other commodity. 

Rule 8 of the State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007 mentions about the permitted usage of the emblem. They are as following:

  1. The display of the national emblem can be made on the vital public premises, for instance, the Supreme Court, Rastrapathi Bhawan, etc. who are functioning as a public body. 
  2. The States or Union Territory who have embodied the national emblem within the emblem of the state or UT’s they can also exhibit it on the premise of the High Courts, State Legislature, Raj Bhawan, etc. 
  3. The display of emblem can be done on the building of India’s Diplomatic mission and also on the premise of the Head of the Mission in whichever country he is permitted to stay.
  4. When an Indian ambassador is staying in a country the entrance door of the premise will have the national emblem and also on the premise of the permitted head of consular. 

The display of the national emblem is also permitted for various other occasions which are specified in the Schedule-3 of the rule. They are as followings: 

  1. Publications which are officially made by the Government.
  2. Short films or movies which are released or produced by the Government.
  3. When the Government of India prints currency, coins, postal stamps, and promissory notes, the emblem is displayed on them. 
  4. Schedule-2 of the Act also states that the cars of the Government dignitaries like President, Vice-President, and other spare or travelling vehicles can also display the emblem on it. 

Punishments for misuse of the emblem 

An organization or an individual uses the national emblem knowingly to represent themself as a member of the government or running an organization that is established by the government after having permission from the government. The display of the emblem gives the impression that they are a governmental official or a governmental institution so that the common man can seek their help and trust them for investment or for any other purpose. There are organizations who gain recognition, raise funds, or for gaining profit portray themself as a part of the government by using the national emblem on their poster, portals, document, etc. These Acts make the common man believe that these organizations are trustworthy. Those who do such acts of misrepresenting themselves as a part of the government are liable for the offence which is a non-cognizable one.

As per Section 7 of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 any person who exploits and misuses the national emblem in a way that he tries to represent himself as a government official will be punishable with imprisonment of not more than 2 years with a fine of Rs. 5,000. However, any person who displays the national emblem for the purpose of advertisement, invitation, trade, business, or for any other purpose will be punishable with imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not more than 2 years along with a fine for Rs. 5000. 

In the Sri. Kalarkode Venugopalan Nair v. The Registrar case, the petitioner filed a PIL against the Kerala High Court for instituting the wrong design of the national emblem. The petitioner complained regarding the missing Satyameva Jayate slogan which has to come along with the emblem. The petitioner’s intentions, in this case, were only regarding making the correction and so he did not ask for any penalty along with the PIL. The court allowed the Public Interest Litigation without charging any penalty and asked the registrar of the High Court for making corrections.  

                   

Prosecution of the offender

As per Section 8 of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper use) Act, 2005 for initiating punishment against the offender under this act the Government of India shall have to authorize any official to look after those who misuse the emblem. Also, if anyone files a complaint in the court against the violator the court cannot proceed for awarding the violator for the punishment not until the complaint is filed by the authorized official.  

In the case of  Abdul Faqir v. State & Anr, the court clearly stated that they cannot take action for awarding punishment to any offender of the Act under Section 3, 4, and 5 until there has been any direction given by the government to do so under Section 8 of the Act. This case clearly states that the court has no power in awarding the punishment to the offenders until any said changes are made by the Government of India. 

Conclusion

The States Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 was passed for regulating the usage of the national emblem and also for punishing those who misuse it for personal gain via an advertisement or through other means. The national emblem was adopted with the purpose of providing identity to those who are an Indian citizen in the outside world and for distinguishing the government officials and organizations from the non-government officials and organizations. 

It is also important to inscribe the national symbol on governmental properties like stationery, cars, buses, buildings of the courts, the residence of the ambassadors, etc. and on the government documents like orders, stamp, files, etc. so that the distinction can be easily made from those which are not received from an unauthorized source.

The Government of India has the authority to regulate its usage, design, colour, size and they have even mentioned in the State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007 regarding the location from where the printing of the emblem has to be done. The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 has loopholes in its prosecution process and awarding of punishment to the violators. The act clearly makes the court powerless in awarding the punishments until any such sanction has been passed by the government.    

References


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