Red Cross on a white background, is the Emblem of Red Cross, recognized in 1864 as the distinctive sign for medical relief teams on the battle field. 

In the Russo-Turkish war the Ottoman empire used a Red Crescent in place of the Red Cross. Egypt too opted for the Red Crescent while Persia chose a Red Lion on a white background. These symbols were written and accepted into the 1929 Geneva Conventions. The IRCS adopted RED CROSS as its emblem. 

The National Society make use of the emblem as an indicative device in peacetime and during armed conflicts within the limits stipulated in national legislation, the regulations and its statutes only for activities consistent with the principles set out by International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. 

During the General Assembly and the council of Delegates in November 2005 at Geneva, Red Crystal has been adopted as another emblem for the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.


Who are the Authorized users

  • The Military Medical Services, their personnel, units, installations and means of transport
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (The Federation)
  • National Societies
  • First Aid Centres that offer totally free medical assistance and are authorized by their national society

What Constitutes misuse of the Emblem

Following acts are considered as misuse of emblem.

  • Use of the emblem by those who are not authorized by the laws
  • Improper use of the Emblem by those who are authorized to use it.
  • Imitation of Red Cross Emblem by using a symbol similar to it.

What is the Indian National Law regulating the use of the emblem

The Indian law regulating the use of the emblem is called the Geneva Conventions Act. The Parliament of India made this law in 1960. Chapter IV of this Act deals with the abuse of the Red Cross Emblem. Section 12 read with Section 13 of this chapter makes unauthorized use of the Red Cross Emblem or its imitation a punishable offence.

What is the punishment for such abuse of the emblem in India

The punishment is a fine of Rs.500/-, besides the provision for forfeiture of the goods or vehicles