Naveen's passion for the National flag, the tiranga, began during his student days at the University of Texas at Dallas, USA, where as President of the Student's Senate, he used to proudly display the Indian National Flag.
After coming back to India in 1992, Naveen continued to display his pride and honour in being a citizen of India by flying the Indian National Flag in a respectful manner at his factory premises in Raigarh in Chhattisgarh (erstwhile Madhya Pradesh). The then Commissioner of Bilaspur objected to it on the ground that as per the Flag Code of India, a private citizen was not permitted to fly the Indian flag except on certain days.
Naveen sought legal advice from eminent lawyers including Mr Shanti Bhushan. The advice he received was that there existed two clear laws on the subject. Firstly, the flag could not be insulted or disrespected and secondly, it could not be used for commercial purposes. But there is no law which can prohibits respectful flying of the National Flag by the citizens.
Naveen filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India before the Delhi High Court, against the action of the Government officials preventing him from flying the National Flag. The petition was filed on the grounds that there was no law prohibiting the flying of the National Flag by private individuals, the restrain being put only by the Flag Code. This Flag Code contained executive instructions of the Government of India and was not issued under any law. The prohibition imposed by virtue of the Flag Code is an infringement of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution that gives all citizens, the right to freedom of speech and expression.
The view of Union of India to this was that the Central Government is authorized to impose restrictions on the use of National Flag at any public place or building and can regulate the same by the authority vested in it under Section 3 of the Emblem and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950. The Union of India also viewed that the restriction imposed by the Act and orders issued by the Government are constitutionally valid being reasonable restrictions on the Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.