Flag Desecration

Actions that may be treated as flag desecration include:

  • Burning it
  • Urinating or defecating on it
  • Defacing it with slogans
  • Daubing it with excrement, etc.
  • Stepping on it
  • Spitting on it
  • Stoning it
  • Shooting it with guns
  • Hurling insults at it
  • Cutting or ripping it
  • Dragging it in the ground
  • Using it unconventionally, e.g.:
    • Hanging it upside down or reversed. In some countries, however, this is also conventional protocol to indicate an emergency or problem.
    • Making toilet paper, napkins, doormats, and other such items bearing the image of the flag, so that the flag’s image will be destroyed or soiled in the course of everyday activities.
  • Half-Masting the flag (Saudi Arabia)
Flag Desecration: India

In India there is a set of laws called ‘The Indian Flag Code’ (written in 2002) that controls the use of the Indian flag which The Bureau of Indian Standards enforces. The breach of this code results in severe punishment and penalties.

The code involved preventing ordinary citizens from displaying the flag on their homes and other buildings which was often criticised as being too inflexible. For many years only the government could display the flag but in 2001 this changed when Naveen Jindal won a court case in the Supreme Court of India to give Indians the right to display the flag publicly.

Flag Desecration: United Kingdom

In the UK there is no real law that hold the concept of flag desecration however any defacement of the flag is considered disrespectful and insulting.


I think its quite interesting that India had such strong laws about the flag yet the UK are quite laid back and have no real problem against it. I think this is something I could play on.. but I’m not quite sure how I would do this. Perhaps, screen printing the Union Jack on the Indian flag and documenting it being displayed outdoors/publicly; cross hatching/intertwining  the two flags

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