The observation was made by a high court bench led by Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who also set aside an order of a Judicial Magistrate to register a criminal case against some Government officials in Coimbatore, who had cut a cake with the Tricolour icing, during a Christmas celebration.
The case refers to a 2013 public party organised by government officials on Christmas Day in Coimbatore district. During the celebrations, a cake measuring 6 ft in length and 5 ft in breadth, depicting a tricoloured outline of India’s map with the Ashoka Chakra in the middle, was cut.
The cake was reportedly distributed and consumed by at least 2,500 people including around 1,000 children. However, a controversy erupted soon and a leader of a fringe Hindu outfit filed a case seeking registration of criminal cases against the officials, including the Collector and Deputy Commissioner of Police and individuals who cut and consumed the cake.
While hearing the state’s appeal against the magistrate’s order, the high court bench said, “symbolisation of national pride is not synonymous with patriotism, just like how cutting a cake is not unpatriotic.’’
It may be recalled that Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Section 2 penalises insults to the Indian flag and the Constitution of India with imprisonment up to three years or a fine or both.