No legal bar in having separate flag for Karnataka: CM

Bengaluru: Asserting that there was no legal bar on states to have a separate flag, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said the state government would consider if the panel set up to design it so favoured.

“As the Constitution does not bar states from having their own flag for a separate identity, we will consider it if the panel recommends,” he said in a statement.

The state government on June 6 constituted a nine-member committee to design a state flag as a symbol of identity and to unfurl it on its formation day on November 1 every year.

“There is nothing wrong in having our own identity even in the form of a separate flag. There is no legal restriction on it. Let us wait for the panel’s recommendation and its design to decide on it,” reiterated Siddaramaiah.

The committee, headed by Kannada and Culture Principal Secretary M. Lakshminarayana as Chairman, has the Secretaries of Law, Home, Parliamentary Affairs and Personnel and Administrative Reforms Departments as members.

Presidents of Kannada Sahitya Parishat (literary academy) and Kannada Development Authority (KDA), Hampi University Vice-Chancellor and Kannada & Culture director are the other members of the panel.

“The committee was set up in response to a memorandum submitted by Kannada protagonists and pro-Kannada organisations for a common identity, as the state was carved out in 1956 by merging Bombay Province and Hyderabad-Karnataka region with the old Mysore areas of the Madras Presidency,” an official in the Chief Minister’s office told IANS.

Though Kannada social and cultural organisations have been using a flag in red and yellow colours across the state over the last six decades, there is no legal sanction or official recognition to it from the state government not is it hoisted on the Rajyotsava Day (formation day) on November 1.

“The flag was designed by Y. Ramamurthy and A. Krishna Rao in the mid-1960s, when the state was renamed Karnataka from Mysore. We also have a separate state anthem, penned by popular Kannada poet Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa or Kuvempu,” said the official.

Barring the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has its own flag under Article 370 of the Constitution, no state has a separate flag.

The previous BJP government in the state (2008-13), however, opposed the demand for a separate flag in 2012, as it considered to be against the unity and integrity of the country, which has the Tricolour as the national flag.

“The flag code does not permit states to have their own flag as it is against the spirit of the country’s unity and integrity,” said former Kannada and Culture Minister in the BJP government Govind Karjol then in the assembly.