Government counsel says circular issued earlier withdrawn

On the eve of Rajyotsava, the State government on Wednesday informed the Karnataka High Court that it had withdrawn the circular directing authorities concerned to hoist the “red and yellow flag” (commonly known as Kannada flag) in all government offices, schools and college in the State on November 1 every year.

A submission was made by government counsel before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna during hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition complaining that Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and its president T.A. Narayana Gowda are “misusing” the “Kannada flag” for their private gain.

The petitioner, Prakash Shetty, had said that though the “Kannada flag” was not declared as the official flag of the State, it [the flag] still represents the culture and the reorganised State of Karnataka. The petitioner had pointed out that then Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, in his budget speech, had said that the hoisting of the “Kannada flag” on November 1 will be made compulsory in all government offices, schools and colleges.”

During earlier hearings, the court had asked whether the government can hoist any flag other than the national flag and whether the State can salute such a flag during official functions. The court had also sought to know whether it is possible for the State to have any flag other than the national flag while also asking the Union government to clarify the law in this connection.

Following these questions, the government had, in March-April, informed the court that the State had refused to accept a suggestion to declare the “Kannada flag” as the official flag for the reason that “such a recognition would be against unity and integrity of the country” while pointing out that the “Kannada flag” is being hoisted by the State during official ceremonies only on the day of Rajyotsava. Later, the Government had given an undertaking to the court that it would withdraw the announcement made in the budget speech on compulsory hoisting of the “Kannada flag” on November 1. The High Court had set October 31 as deadline for the State for this as the government did not withdraw the decision even after five months after giving the undertaking.

When the petition came up for hearing on Wednesday, government counsel said that a circular was issued on October 4 withdrawing the decision announced in the budget speech and following this, the Bench adjourned further hearing on the petition to November 19.

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