The Emblems and Names Act,1950

The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act (hereinafter “the Act”) came into force by Notification by the Central Government in the Official Gazette on 1st September, 1950 with the object to prevent the improper use of certain emblems and names for professional and commercial purposes.

Section 2 of the Act defines an “Emblem” as any emblem, seal, flag, insignia, coat-of-arms or pictorial representation. Further, the “Competent Authority” for the purposes of the Act means the relevant authority competent to register any company, firm or other body of persons or any trademark or design or to grant a patent.

Section 3, one of the most important sections of the Act, prohibits the usage of any name or emblem specified in the Schedule (provided below for ready reference) or any colourable imitation thereof, for the purposes of any trade, business, calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design without the prior permission of the Central Government or any authority specified by the Central Government in that behalf.

Section 4 imposes a restriction on the Competent Authority by providing that no Competent Authority under this Act shall:

  • Register any company, firm or other body of persons which bears any name; or
  • Register a trade mark or design which bears any emblem or name; or
  • Grant a patent in respect of an invention, which bears a title containing any emblem or name,

If the use of such name or emblem is in contravention of Section 3 of the Act.

Section 5 provides for a penalty extendable up to Rs. 500/- in case of contravention of the provisions of Section 3 of the Act. Section 6 may also be noted, which requires previous sanction of the Central Government before prosecution for any offence punishable under this Act is instituted.

Section 7 is a Savings Clause which provides that no provision of this Act shall exempt any person from any suit or other proceedings, which might be brought against him under any other law.

Section 8 gives power to the Central Government to amend, add or alter the Schedule under this Act by notification in the Official Gazette and Section 9 gives power to the Central Government to make Rules to carry out the purposes of this Act. In pursuance of the same, the Central Government brought into force the Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Rules 1982.

The Schedule, amended up to 31st May, 2011 provides, in short, the following:

The name, emblem or official seal of:

  1. The United Nations Organisation.
  2. The World Health Organisation.
  3. The Government of India or of any State, or any other insignia or coat-of-arms used by the Government or any Department.
  4. The President, Governor (Sadar-i- Riyasat) or Republic or Union of India.
  5. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
  6. The International Civil Aviation Organisation.
  7. The World Meteorological Organisation.
  8. The International Atomic Energy Agency.

The name or emblem(s) of:

  1. The St. John Ambulance Association (India), and the St. John Ambulance Brigade (India).
  2. The Tuberculosis Association of India.
  3. The Rama Krishna Math and Mission.
  4. The Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.
  5. The Bharat Scouts and Guides.
  6. The International Olympic Committee.
  7. The National Youth Emblem.
  8. Auroville.
  9. The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
  10. The Sri Sathya Sai.
  11.  The National Human Rights Commission along with the Sanskrit quotation “Sarve Bhavantu sukhinah”.

The name or pictorial representation of :

  1. The Rashtrapati, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Raj Bhavan.
  2. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji or the Prime Minister of India or the words “Gandhi”, “Nehru” or “Shivaji”, except the pictorial use thereof on calendars where only the names of the manufacturers and printers of the calendars are given and the calendars are not used for advertising goods.
  3. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri.
  4. The “Ashoka Chakra” or “Dharma Chakra”.
  • The medals, badges or decorations instituted by the Government from time to time or the miniatures or replicas of such medals, badges or decorations or the names thereof.
  • The word “Interpol” which is an integral part of the International Criminal Police Organisation.
  • The name of the Parliament or the Legislature of any State, or the Supreme Court, or the High Court of any State, or the Central Secretariat, or the Secretariat of any State Government or any other Government Office or the pictorial representation of any building occupied by any of the aforesaid institutions.
  • The Indian National Flag.
  • Any name, which may suggest or be calculated to suggest patronage or participation of the Government of India or the Government of a State or Connection with any local authority or any corporation or body constituted by the Government. Guidelines for determining whether may suggest or may be calculated to suggest the aforesaid have also been provided in an appendix to the Act.

It may be noted that the usage of word “India” by companies and small-scale units engaged in real economic activities such as production, manufacturing, and service providing etc. may not be restricted.

A distinction has been drawn between trust/societies/charitable institutions, which are primarily fund raising agencies and agencies involved in real productive activities.

However, words such as ‘India’, ‘National’ or ‘State’ may not be allowed in the name of a body engaged in commercial, semi-commercial activities in public dealings or for products being marketed if the consumer is likely to gather a misleading impression that the organization has been sponsored by the Government.

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