General Guidelines

Straight Forward & Easy. Just The Essentials You Need To Know!

The general guidelines for the use & display of flags are usually accepted globally amongst all nations. Much of the flag protocol is derived from common sense. That is, using it as a table cover or wrapping paper, displaying it upside down or the flag touching the ground are inappropriate uses. It should always be treated with respect. Many countries consider signing a flag disrespectful; Pinning or sewing items to a flag would also be ill advised. Below are general guidelines that you should adhere to for displaying the Indian national flag, depending on the desired application. Certain aspects & content of these guidelines maybe followed for the display of other national flags or custom logo flags.

On A Desktop/Table or Outdoor Flagpole

The flag of honour, that is the nation’s flag in most cases, is flown on the center mast if possible. It is also correct to fly the flag on its own right. (To an observer it would be on the far left). If more than three flags are used, the proper position is as far left from the point of view of an observer. It may also be correct to place it in the centre of a group flag arrangement. An additional flag may be placed on the right side, but is not necessary.

When two poles are crossed, the position of honour (the host country’s flag) is the flag that begins on the left side from the point of view of an observer (the pole will therefore end on the right). Further, the pole/staff of the flag of honour (or the host country) should be positioned ahead of the pole/staff of the flag on the opposite end.

In a semicircle, the position of honour is the center. If a full circle is used outside an entrance to an arena or stadium, the position of honour is directly opposite the entrance. If used to line the walls of the arena, the flag should be placed directly opposite the entrance.


When flown horizontally, as from a flag pole, the flag should be oriented so that the canton is closest to the top of the pole. If hung against a wall, the canton should be placed in the upper-left corner from the point of view of the observer. When hung vertically, flags should be rotated so the canton is again closest to the top of the pole. If the flag is displayed against a wall, the canton should again appear in the upper-left corner, which incidentally requires that the flag be both rotated and ‘flipped’ from its horizontal orientation.

Multiple Flags

When flags of many nations are flown, the flag of the hosting country maybe be placed first towards the left or centre of the audience, with the rest following in alphabetical order in the language of the host country.

Half Staff

The flag should be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning only on instructions from the President or a governing authority, who will also give a date ending the mourning period. When the flag is to be flown at half mast, it must first be raised to the top of the mast and then slowly lowered to half mast. Before being lowered at sunset or at the appropriate time, the flag is first raised to the top of the pole and then lowered.

Only the National Flag is flown at half mast; all other flags remain at normal height. 

The flag is flown at half-mast for the death of the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister all over India. For the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of India, it is flown in Delhi and for a Union Cabinet Minister it is flown in Delhi and the state capitals. For Minister of State, it is flown only in Delhi. For a Governor, Lt. Governor and Chief Minister of a state or union territory it is flown in the concerned state.

If the intimation of the death of any dignitary is received in the afternoon, the flag shall be flown at half-mast on the following day also at the place or places indicated above, provided the funeral has not taken place before sun-rise on that day. On the day of the funeral of a dignitary mentioned above, the flag shall be flown at half-mast at the place of the funeral.

In the event of a half-mast day coinciding with the Republic Day, Independence Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, National Week (6th to 13 April), any other particular day of national rejoicing as may be specified by the Government of India or in the case of a state, on the anniversary of formation of that state, flags are not permitted to be flown at half-mast except over the building where the body of the deceased is lying until such time it has been removed and that flag shall be raised to the full-mast position after the body has been removed.

Observances of State mourning on the death of foreign dignitaries are governed by special instructions issued from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Home Ministry) in individual cases. However, in the event of death of either the Head of the State or Head of the Government of a foreign country, the Indian Mission accredited to that country may fly the national flag on the above mentioned days.

On occasions of state, military, central para-military forces funerals, the flag shall be draped over the bier or coffin with the saffron towards the head of the bier or coffin. The flag shall not be lowered into the grave or burnt in the pyre.

Other Places

On a vehicle the flag should be affixed securely to the front right of the chassis or the fender. Car-window flags should be affixed securely to the window of a car. Flags placed inside the car should not touch the car’s interiors such as the dashboard etc. It is important to ensure that the flag does not obstruct the view of the driver. It is also advisable to keep the flag out of reach of children below 4 years of age.

When placed with a podium or at a place of worship the flag should hang directly behind or on a pole to the right of the speaker, from the point of view of the flag.

When carried in single file the flag of honour leads.


When no longer in a fit condition to be used, a flag should be disposed of in a dignified manner, preferably by burning or ground burial.

If you have any other queries or need advice related to flag etiquettes other than the general guidelines provided above, please feel free to Contact Us. If you would like to refer to the detailed Flag Code of India, please click here.