Chill folks, vice president Hamid Ansari did no wrong

Image source: IANS

Stand down folks. The Vice President Hamid Ansari did no wrong by not saluting the national flag when the national anthem was playing at the Republic Day.

The vice president’s office has cited the relevant rules of the flag code of India. The code says, as per protocol, “only those in uniform salute the Tricolour while the national anthem is being played and those in plainclothes must stand at attention.”

It adds, “During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in a review, all persons present should face the flag and stand at attention. Those present in uniform should render the appropriate salute… A dignitary may take the salute without a head dress,” the section states.

However, there are some exceptions.

When in the course of a newsreel or documentary the Anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the Anthem.

If the national anthem is played by a band, it should be preceded by a roll of drums–which is about 7 seconds long–to make the audience aware of it, and give them enough time to stand.

So also, according to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, “Whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the National Anthem or causes disturbances 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.”