Delhi High Court: Hearing a public interest litigation seeking directions to the Ministry of Environment, Government of NCT of Delhi to take steps under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and other relevant Acts to prohibit the manufacture, use, sale and purchase of manja/nylon kite thread and similar synthetic threads used in kite flying, the Court directed the Government to issues advisories within 3 days from the date of order to make the public aware of the fatal effects of such razor sharp threads.

The petitioner contended that  the thread used for flying of kites which is made of nylon or synthetic material and other toxic materials, often referred to as “Chinese manja” though it has nothing to do

with China, being razor sharp is very dangerous and capable of causing severe injuries to birds and humans and that the present case fell within the ambit of Rule 4(5) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 and therefore prohibitory orders be issued by the Government without inviting objections from public.

The Standing Counsel Mr Rahul Mehra submitted that a proposed draft notification in relation to imposing a complete ban on sale, production, storage, supply and use of nylon, plastic and Chinese manja and other kite-flying thread that is sharp or made sharp such as being laced with glass, metal or other sharp objects in National Capital Territory of Delhi was ready and the same had been forwarded to the Law Department, Government of NCT of Delhi for vetting. Since the notification cannot be issued immediately, advisories may be issued to create awareness among the public.

Though the petitioner had brought to the Court’s notice a few incidents based on newspaper reports, the Court was of the view that more material and adequate data was required to be collected and evaluated, and opportunity be given to raise objections, before prohibiting or restricting the handling of hazardous substances in accordance with the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986. Disposing of the petition, the Court issued the following directions:

  • Office of the Divisional Commissioners/ Directorate of Information & Publicity and all the Municipal Corporations shall issue advisories within 3 days from today through various modes to make the public aware of the fatal effects of use of razor sharp thread/manja made of nylon/plastic/synthetic using glass/metal and/or other toxic materials.
  • Steps be taken by the Commissioner of Delhi Police to ensure that advisories are issued by all concerned authorities in terms of the above direction so as to prevent any untoward incidents in Delhi.
  • Government of NCT of Delhi is directed to expedite the process of inviting suggestions or objections from the general public and thereafter to issue the notification following the procedure laid down under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 read with the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, to tackle the adverse effects of razor sharp kite flying threads on humans as well as other living creatures as expeditiously as possible.

[Zulfiquar Hussain  v.  Government of NCT of Delhi2016 SCC OnLine Del 4488, decided on August 10, 2016]

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