Delhi High Court on Friday refused to ban kite flying in the national capital, underlining that it is a cultural activity. It, however, directed the AAP government and Delhi Police to ensure compliance with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning sale of Chinese synthetic manjha used for kite flying.
Disposing of a public interest litigation that sought action against the sale of Chinese manjha and a ban on flying, sale, purchase, storage and transportation of kites as many people and birds are killed or injured due to accidents caused by the glass-coated strings, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that NGT had already imposed a complete ban on the Chinese manjha and even Delhi Police had been issuing notifications in this regard and also taking action against violators.
Kite flying cannot be banned as it is a “cultural activity” and can also be associated with “religious activity”, the court said.
Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Sanjay Lao, representing Delhi Police, said there was already a notification by the government that the Chinese manjha was banned, and 255 people had been booked since 2017 under Indian Penal Code and Environment (Protection) Act. He said the DCPs concerned would issue another order to this effect before Independence Day.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and standing counsel Anil Soni, representing the Centre, said the prayer couldn’t be allowed as cultural and religious values were attached to kite flying and the use of Chinese manjha needed to be banned.
Petitioner Sanser Pal Singh contended that a complete ban would be the only solution as it would be difficult to catch the culprit or fix the responsibility of an accident due to kite string. He argued that every kite flyer “tries to use string/thread that is glass-coated or metallic, popularly known as Chinese manjha, which is more dangerous”.
The petitioner said he had met with an accident in 2006 when a kite string got entangled around his body and in an attempt to save his neck, he got his finger cut.