An incident of insult to the national flag was reported from Irumpanam in Kochi on Tuesday.
Locals found several units of the national flag amid a heap of garbage comprising the flag, life jackets, and raincoats of the Coast Guard and informed the police.
Insult to national symbols, especially the national flag is a punishable offence that could result in "imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both".
It is alleged that the national flag and other items, which were soiled might have been handed over to be disposed of. But those entrusted might have dumped it, it is said.
The police retrieved and took all the units of the national flag after carefully folding them.
The Hill Palace Police have registered a case.
According to the Flag Code of India, a national flag that is in a damaged or soiled condition "shall be destroyed as a whole in private, preferably by burning or by any other method consistent with the dignity of the flag".