A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that the NGT has already completely banned the Chinese synthetic ‘manjha’ and even the Delhi Police has been issuing notifications in this matter and taking action against violators.
The high court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) that asked for a complete ban on kite flying, selling, buying, storing, and transporting due to the high number of human and animal fatalities and injuries from accidents involving glass-coated strings.
The bench, which dismissed the petition, ruled that kite flying cannot be outlawed because it is a cultural activity that may be connected to religious activity. It also ordered the Delhi Police and the state government to strictly abide by the NGT order prohibiting the use and sale of Chinese ‘manjha’.
Sanjay Lao, standing counsel (criminal) for the Delhi Government, testified on behalf of the Delhi Police during the hearing that Chinese “manjha” has already been declared illegal by the Delhi Government, and that 255 people have been arrested for violating this rule since 2017 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Environment (Protection) Act.
Even today, he claimed, the Deputy Commissioner of Police would issue another directive outlawing the usage of Chinese “manjha” in Delhi.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and standing counsel Anil Soni, representing the Central Government, said the prayer for banning kite flying cannot be allowed as cultural and religious values are attached to it and it is the use of Chinese ‘manjha’ which needs to be banned.
This is a festival in India. It is also connected to religion. You need to be careful while making a prayer, the law officer stated.
Petitioner Sanser Pal Singh contended that a complete ban on kite flying, it’s making, sale and purchase, and storage is the only solution as it is difficult to catch the culprit or fix the responsibility when an accident occurs due to kite string.
Every kite flyer tries to source and use string/ thread that is glass coated or metallic, popularly known as ‘Chinese manjha’, which is more dangerous and life and safety of not only humans but also of birds is endangered due to this, the plea read.
The petitioner stated that he had met with an accident in 2006 when a kite string got entangled around his body and to save his neck, he got his finger cut.
According to the data collected by the petitioner, many people and birds have lost their lives and got injured due to kite strings.
(With inputs from PTI)
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