In a case that has occupied the Gujarat High Court’s attention all week, on Saturday, the bench finally clamped down a ban on the Chinese manja and invoked the Wildlife Protection Act to substantiate its observation.
The state government, the defendant in this case for its role in being passively complicit in use of the manja, banned since 2017, has been asked to create public awareness about the dangers of using the deadly string as a means of recreation. Chinese strings and other synthetic strings coated with glass are used for flying kites during Uttarayan, which is celebrated on January 14.
It maybe recalled that the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, after which the court sought a response from the state government on Jan 6. When on Friday, the affidavit was submitted, the discredited the state’s argument as “bald and vague.” The Home secretary was directed to submit a fresh affidavit on Saturday, following which, the court banned the deadly manja.
The High Court further stated: “Just as loudspeakers are used in elections, loudspeakers should also be used for this purpose. Auto rickshaws must be pasted with posters so as to make sure the message reaches. The Chinese manja is banned. It is dangerous for humans beings as well as birds who inadvertently fly into it or for strays who might walkover discarded reels. Media must undertake awareness campaigns as much as helpline numbers must be set up to be apprised in case of illegal sales.”
The court raised The Wildlife Protection Act and has included its tenets under the verdict pronounced on Saturday. So far, action against offenders was taken only under IPC 188 Act.
Significantly, the court, during Friday’s proceedings, asked the police to file a record of arrests, if any, for sale of the banned item.
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