The Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games is more formidable than ever. The athletes who have reached Birmingham have immense talent and have shown the ability to compete with the best and win big. All athletes are wrapped around the vibrant blue that has been India’s colour over years. Indian women’s team will also wear a special jersey for the CWG 2022. But have you wondered why we don’t see any direct representations of our country’s symbols like the National Flag or even the Ashok Chakra on the jerseys of these athletes?
This is done in order to protect the sanity of the country’s national symbols under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. This is an act implemented by the Parliament of India which prohibits the desecration of or insult to the country’s national symbols, including the national flag, national emblem, national anthem, the constitution, and map of India including contempt of the Indian constitution.
So in terms of sports, with athletes diving around the field for making that extra push which often turns into the difference between winning and losing, these national symbols are dragged along everywhere, which is condemned under this act.
The issue was raised in 2005 when the BCCI got a message from the then Home Minister Shivraj Patil to not display of the national flag on helmets and jerseys. Although the Home Ministry received request to use tricolour on their kits.
Indian cricket board vice-president Rajeev Shukla received a call from the ministry regarding the issue and said, “The Home Minister has conveyed to me that cricketers can use the tri-colour without the Ashoka Chakra on their helmet or jerseys,” Shukla said.
“There is no objection to the tricolour being used on the helmet or on the costume by the players. However, the national flag (tricolour complete with Ashok Chakra) cannot be displayed as per existing law.”