Withdraws circular on joint hoisting of state, Indian flags; orders probe into its issuance, decides to “contest” plea on celebrating JK’s own R-day on Nov 17
Srinagar: The coalition government headed by PDP’s Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Friday withdrew its circular—in less than 24 hours—on state flag which had called for maintaining its sanctity “at all costs” by hoisting it along with the tricolor wherever constitutionally required in J&K.
“The circular No. 13-GAD of 2015, dated 12.03.2015, is hereby withdrawn,” said Commissioner Secretary to the government, General Administration Department, M. A. Bukhari.
An official spokesman attributed the reason for withdrawal of the order to the “non-approval of circular draft by the competent authority before its issuance.”
“Appropriate administrative action will be taken after enquiry into the circumstances leading to the issuing of this circular,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman also said the government is pursuing a case (filed by former forest officer Abdul Qayoom Khan) since December 11, 2013 in the J&K High Court.
The petitioner has prayed for a direction that the Republic Day of the state of J&K should be celebrated (on November 17) when the state constitution was adopted and became enforceable.
The petitioner has also prayed that all the constitutional authorities be commanded to use the state flag in all their official cars, offices and buildings with dignity and honour.
The government, the spokesman said, had not responded to the case and had not filed a reply as desired by the court.
A “last” chance was given to the government to file a reply by the court on or before it comes up for hearing which was expected to be anytime now, the spokesman said.
“In order to avoid any adverse order in a sensitive constitutional matter, the government intended to file an affidavit in the court today, contesting all the pleas made by the petitioner. In the affidavit, it stated that it will issue a circular reiterating the respect that is to be accorded to the Union as also the state flag taking recourse to J&K Prevention of Insult to the State Honour Act, 1979, in the latter case.”
However, the spokesman said, the draft of the circular was not approved by the competent authority before its issuance on Thursday and as such stands withdrawn with immediate effect.
The circular was issued just 12 days after PDP entered into an alliance with the BJP, which vehemently opposes the two-flag system in the state.
“As per the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Delhi Agreement of 1952 and keeping in view the historical background, the state flag has the same sanctity and position as the Union flag has under the Indian Constitution and other statutory provisions,” reads the circular issued on Thursday which has now been withdrawn.
The order had said that under Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Insult to State Honors Act 1979, it amounts to an insult if the state flag is not hoisted alongside the tricolor.
“The flag shall always be hoisted jointly on the buildings housing constitutional institutions and shall be used on official cars of constitutional authorities,” it said.
Before entering into the coalition with the PDP, the BJP had been vehemently advocating abolishing the two flag system.
In 1953, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the BJP’s originator, Jana Sangh, died in a Srinagar prison, after being arrested for entering Kashmir without a permit, a requirement then under Article 370 of the Constitution.