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Row over misuse of Indian emblem.

MUSCAT: An Indian lawyer residing in Oman has filed a complaint with the Indian Embassy in Muscat against alleged misuse of the Indian national emblem, the Ashoka Chakra (Ashoka's wheel), by an Indian-run business house in the Sultanate.

The business house has reportedly used Ashoka Chakra as a trademark in an advertisement.

Ashoka Chakra, it may be noted, is depicted at the centre of the National flag of India and is a national symbol.

"Misusing a national symbol that more than a billion Indians keep close to their hearts for personal business purposes is a punishable act. I had formally filed a complaint against this in 2011 (to the Indian Embassy)," P. E. Lalachen, the petitioner, toldA Times of Oman.

"But they are yet to acknowledge my complaint," he added.

On February 7, the petitioner has again filed the complaint.

"If the embassy is not going to take any steps, I will move a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court of India for the failure of the Indian Embassy to protect the national symbols," the petitioner claimed, while asserting that Ashoka Chakra cannot be used as a trademark by a business house.

"Any business house in the world cannot use national symbols of any country as their trademark. It is prohibited by international laws. If the issue comes to the notice of the Sultanate's officials, they will take steps to stop this insult," the

petitioner added.

According to Section (3) of the India's Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, it is prohibited to use the emblems specified in the schedule of the Article (16) of the Act for any business or professional purposes without the prior approval of the Central Government of India.

The Article reads: "Notwithstanding 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 trademark or design, any name or emblem specified in the schedule or any colourable imitation thereof, without the previous permission of the central government or of such officer of the government as may be authorised in this behalf by the central government."

The petitioner added: "The act of the business house is also a violation of the Flag Code of India as envisioned in the Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act 2003 in which the National Flag is defined."

Meanwhile, the manager of the business house who did not want to be named, claimed that they had the necessary permission from the ministry to use the emblem.

The Indian embassy officials, on the other hand, failed to respond to an email query mailed by the reporter on the issue.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2012

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 13, 2012
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