The government has proposed increasing the fine for illegal and improper use of national emblems for commercial gains from Rs 500 to Rs one lakh Ñ the suggested change also includes jail time and a fine of Rs 5 lakh for repeat offenders Ñ in an attempt to crack down on their misuse.
The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, restricts the use of the national flag, the coat-of-arms used by a government department, the official seal of the President or Governor, the pictorial representation of Mahatma Gandhi and the Prime Minister, and the Ashoka Chakra.
However, it is considered inadequate.
The other change being considered is that in case there is a prosecution, the onus to prove that the alleged contravention or alteration was lawfully authorized shall be on the violator. Right now, that onus is on the state.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has placed its recommendations to amend the law on its official website and invited public views till December 20.
Under section 3 of the Act, no person can commercially use any government trademark or design, name, emblem, official seal or pictorial representation, or any colorable imitation of the same, without the CentreÕs previous permission. The law applies to Indian citizens living abroad too.
Reference: section3 of EMBLEMS AND NAMES (PREVENTION OF IMPROPER USE) ACT, 1950. Prohibition of improper use of certain emblems and names.ÑNotwithstanding anything
contained in any law for the time being in force, no person shall, except in such cases and under such
conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government, use or continue to use, for the purpose of any
trade, business, calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design, any
name or emblem specified in the Schedule or any colourable imitation thereof without the previous
permission of the Central Government or such officer of Government as may be authorised in this behalf
by the Central Government.
4. Prohibition of registration of certain companies, etc.Ñ(1) Notwithstanding anything contained
in any law for the time being in force, no competent authority shall,Ñ
(a) register any company, firm or other body of persons which bears any name, or
(b) register a trade mark or design which bears any emblem or name, or
(c) grant a patent in respect of any invention which bears a title containing any emblem or name,
if the use of such name or emblem is in contravention of section 3.
(2) If any question arises before a competent authority whether any emblem is an emblem specified in
the Schedule or a colourable imitation thereof, the competent authority may refer the question to the
Central Government, and the decision of the Central Government thereon shall be final.