There are rules regarding the correct way to display the flag in different circumstances. If two flags are placed horizontally behind a podium, the saffron coloured panel should be on the top and their hoists should face each other. If the flagpole is short, it should be placed at an angle with the wall. If the flagpoles cross each other then the hoists should be inclined towards each other and the two flags should be spread out aesthetically. The flag cannot become a table cover or be used to cover a podium. It can also not be draped on buildings or hung from railings. If used inside a hall the flag should be displayed on the right side of the stage. In case there is a speaker at the podium, the flag should be placed on his right (left of the audience) as this is considered the place of authority. In case the flag needs to be displayed in a hall, it should be placed on the right of the audience. In any display, the saffron panel should always be at the top and the flag spread out. In a situation where it has to be hung vertically from a surface, the saffron panel should be on the left and the hoist cord on the top.
In an event where the tricolour is part of other flags in a parade, it should either be placed on the right most side with other flags or on its own at front in centre. The flag can be part of a ceremony like unveiling of a statue or a monument but it should not be used as a cover. Unlike flags of institutes and organisations and even regimental colours, the tricolour should not be bent down for anybody.
All those who are present when the flag is being hoisted or brought down or passing in a parade are required to face it and stand at attention. Amongst these, the personal in uniform are required to salute appropriately. If the National Flag is a part of a moving column, all persons around it are required to stand at attention or salute when it crosses them. A dignitary has the privilege of taking the salute without headgear. National anthem should be played after the flag salutation ceremony.
The National Flag can be flown on the vehicles of a privileged few like the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, Governors and Lieutenant Governors of states, Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, members of the Parliament of India and state legislatures of the Indian states (Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad), judges of the Supreme Court of India and High Courts, and flag officers of Army, Navy and Air Force.
The flag should be placed in front of the vehicle either in the middle or on the right side of the vehicle. In case, a flag of a foreign country also needs to be flown, it should be placed on the left side. The privilege of flying the flag is extended to the aircraft in which the President, the Vice-President or the Prime Minister is travelling to visit a foreign nation. The flag of the country where the dignitary is going on visit should also be flown along with the tricolour on the plane. In case the plane lands in a third country, the National flag of that country should be replaced with the flag of the destination state. The plane in which the President travels within India displays the flag on the side from which he will embark or disembark. The tricolour can be used the same way if the President is travelling by train. However on trains, the flag can be displayed only when it is about to enter the station or when it standing at a station.
In situations within India where the tricolour needs to be flown with flags of other countries, the Indian tricolour should always mark the beginning. If the flags have to be arranged in a straight line then the tricolour should be placed in the beginning on the right and other national flags should be placed alphabetically. In case, the flags are arranged in a circle, the same rule applies. The tricolour can also be placed in its alphabetically rightful place in the line or the circular arrangement. In such situations all the flags should be of the same size and definitely not larger than the Indian flag. It should be ensured that all the flags should be placed in their own flagpoles and at the same height. If the Indian flag has to be crossed with that of another nation, the Indian flag should be in front and to the right. An exception to this rule is when the Indian flag is flown with the flag of United Nations. Here the flag of United Nations can be placed on the right of the Indian Flag.
The Indian tricolour may be displayed with flags from private companies or advertising banners. Here again the National flag should be either placed in the middle or left most from the audience view or minimum one flag breadth higher than other flags. The flagpole of the National Flag should be in front of other flagpoles. If the flags are on the same pole, then the National Flag should be placed right at the top.
A flag flown at half-mast is a sign of mourning. The President of India takes the decision about when to fly the flag at half-mast and its duration. As per protocol, if the President or the Vice President or the Prime Minister of India dies, the flag is flown at half-mast throughout the country. For flying the flag at half- mast, it has to be first hoisted till the top of the mast and then brought down. In case of demise of Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the Union Ministers, the flag is flown at half mast in the capital, New Delhi as well as the state to which the deceased dignitary belonged. Similarly, when the Governors, Lt. Governors and Chief Ministers of the state pass away, in their respective states and union territories, the flag is flown at half-mast. On National festivals, i.e. Republic Day on 26 January, Independence Day on 15 August and Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October, the Indian Flag cannot be flown at half mast. The other occasion when such restriction is on is the National Week from 6 to 13 April and anniversaries of state formation. The exception in this is made for buildings where the body of the deceased dignitary is kept. But once the body is moved from the building, the flag is raised back to full mast.
In case of the death of a foreign dignitary, the Ministry of Home Affairs issues instructions about observation of state mourning. In case of the demise of the head of state or the head of government of a foreign country, the Indian embassy in that country has the authority to fly the National Flag at half mast. The flag is also draped on the coffin carrying personals belonging to military and para-military forces as a mark of respect to their service. The saffron panel of the flag is placed towards the head of the coffin. However, in this process, the flag is neither to be lowered in the grave nor burnt in the pyre. The flag is removed before the cremation or burial takes place.