Supreme Court Dismisses Petitions Challenging National Green Tribunal’s Interim Ban on Manja, and Delhi Government Implements Ban

For Immediate Release:
13 January 2017

Contact:
Nikunj Sharma [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari [email protected]

Delhi Authorities Considered PETA’s Point That Sharp Kite-Flying Strings Injure and Kill Many Birds and Humans

New Delhi – Today, a Supreme Court bench which included Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur and Justice Prafulla Chandra Pant dismissed petitions filed by manufacturers of sharp manja. The petitions sought to invalidate the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) interim order banning the deadly kite-flying strings. During its dismissal, the bench orally observed that the lives of humans who are injured or adversely affected by manja are important and asked the appellants to raise any grievances before the NGT at the next hearing. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India appeared on caveat and was represented by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde as well as Advocate Shadan Farasat. The bench orally observed that kite-flying may continue without the use of sharp manja.

Also today, PETA India received a copy of a notification issued by the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi’s Department of Environment banning the sale, production, storage, supply, import, and use of all forms of manja, including cotton thread coated with glass, metal, or any other sharp material. The notification also specifies that anyone flouting the law could face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to 1 lakh rupees, or both under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Meanwhile, police and other officials from Mumbai, Nagpur, and Telangana have either issued their own orders against the sale and use of manja or conducted raids.

In response to PETA India’s petition calling for a nationwide ban on all forms of manja, a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, Chair of the NGT, passed an interim prohibitory order on 14 December 2016 banning the procurement, stocking, sale, and use of manja made of nylon thread – which is also called “Chinese dor” – as well as other sharp materials, including synthetic or cotton thread coated with glass or other hazardous compounds, until the next hearing on 1 February 2017. The interim order is expected to save numerous lives, as it will be in place during Makar Sankranti, a festival during which many birds and humans are killed by manja.

“Manja is a menace – it poses a life-threatening risk to humans and birds, damages the country’s infrastructure, and hinders essential services such as electricity”, explains PETA India Government Affairs Liaison Nikunj Sharma. “The Delhi government’s decision to prohibit its sale and use is welcomed by parents and bird-lovers alike because it helps ensure that kite-flying is enjoyable and safe for everyone.”

Thousands of birds are killed every year when they are cut or trapped by manja, which can get caught on trees or buildings for weeks. Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir bird hospital in Delhi treated 500 birds who were injured in just three days around Independence Day celebrations in 2016. A bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds – including pigeons and endangered species such as vultures – are injured every year during the city’s Uttarayan festival, and 500 of them die from their injuries. According to estimates, more than 300 birds were injured and more than 100 died because of manja during Makar Sankranti in Hyderabad in 2015.

Humans are also injured and killed. In 2016, three people, including a police officer, died because of injuries caused by sharp manja within a week of Independence Day celebrations. On 30 December 2016, a man was injured in Vadodara, Gujarat, when his throat was slit by the deadly strings. In January 2017 in Jaipur, a man was grievously injured when his throat was slit by manja while he was riding a motorcycle.

PETA India’s petition in the NGT also explained that manja causes expensive blackouts and electrocutes kite-flyers. According to Delhi power company BSES, a single incident involving a kite near an electrical facility can affect up to 10,000 customers. In 2016, Delhi power companies also reported that compared to the previous year, the number of power-tripping incidents on 15 August nearly doubled, from 18 to 33. Several top power companies, such as Reliance Power and Tata Power, have time and again issued advisories urging people not to fly kites near electrical establishments. Mukesh Patel was only 13 years old when he sustained burns over 95 per cent of his body after his kite hit a power line in Mumbai. Manja made of synthetic material such as nylon is also destructive to the environment, as it litters the soil and chokes drainage lines, sewer systems, and natural waterways.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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