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Bombay HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Illegal Sale Of Nylon Threads In Festive Season Causing Severe Injuries To Humans And Birds

Nupur Thapliyal
4 Jan 2021 5:57 AM GMT
Bombay HC  Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Illegal Sale Of Nylon Threads In Festive Season Causing Severe Injuries To Humans And Birds
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A division bench of the Bombay High Court, Auranagabad Bench consisting of Justice Ravindra V. Ghuge and Justice Vibha Kankanwadi (vacation bench) on Wednesday (30th December 2020) took suo moto Public interest litigation cognizance on the illegal sale of nylon manjas on the festive seasons causing severe debilitating injuries to innumerable birds. BACKGROUND OF THE SUO...

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A division bench of the Bombay High Court, Auranagabad Bench consisting of Justice Ravindra V. Ghuge and Justice Vibha Kankanwadi (vacation bench) on Wednesday (30th December 2020) took suo moto Public interest litigation cognizance on the illegal sale of nylon manjas on the festive seasons causing severe debilitating injuries to innumerable birds.

BACKGROUND OF THE SUO MOTO COGNIZANCE

The suo moto cognizance as a PIL came into being after the bench took note of two major newspaper articles in the Times of India dated 30th December 2020. The two news items titled "Nylon manja kills woman in Nashik" and "Ban sought on nylon, sharp manja ahead of Sakranti" were published in the Aurangabad edition.

Noting this, the bench observed that Maharashtra Government had invoked Sec. 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 to introduce the ban of sale of nylon manjas in the State. Furthermore, the bench took note of the observation made by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) declaring a country wide ban on the sale of manjas in July, 2017.

While initiating the suo moto action, the Bench also referred to the opinion of an ornithologist, a person who studies or is an expert on birds, Mr. Deelip Bhagat who had stated that manja, which is nearly invisible to the naked eye, poses a perennial threat to birds during the festival. To this, the bench observed "We find that a precious life of a woman in Nashik was snatched away on account of such nylon manja having slit her throat. So also, innumerable birds suffer debilitating injuries because of such nylon manja. In view of the above, we are treating these two news items as Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation."

In doing so, the Bench appointed Mr. Satyajeet Bora as the amicus curiae in the thread/synthetic material coated with synthetic substance, which is non-biodegradable, for kite flying,case and asked him to file a petition by 31.12.2020. State of Maharashtra is the respondent in the matter.

PROCEEDINGS ON 31.12.2020

The bench issued notice to the State of Maharashtra after an exhaustive petition was filed by the amicus curiae in the case. The amicus curiae also placed on record various orders passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) dated 11.07.2017 and 21.01.2020 which clearly indicated the willingness of the NGT by calling upon the Union of India to respond to the non compliance of its 2017 order vide which the NGT had ordered that prohibition of use of nylon thread/synthetic material coated with synthetic substance, which is non-biodegradable, for kite flying.

It was further submitted by the respondents in the matter that the State authorities have immediately swung into action and they are ensuring that none of the shop keepers/traders/selling outlets etc. are permitted to sell such type of threads for kite flying or for any purpose. He submits that such shops/outlets would be subjected to surprise inspection from today itself and offences would be registered against such shop keepers/outlets. It was also informed that the authorities would not hesitate to even shut down such shops by following the due procedure of law.

The bench while shifting the order to the "urgent orders category" held that "Whichever shop/outlet or selling booth is found with such type of threads, the entire quantity of such threads would be confiscated and offences would be registered against such shop keepers. So also, the police authorities would ensure that such threads are not being used even for flying kites and those citizens found to be using such threads for kite flying, either on the streets or on roof tops, would also be subjected to police action."

DIRECTIONS ISSUED ON 01.01.2021

The bench on its third day of the hearing (Friday) took note of a communication received by the Government pleader from the Commissioner of Police, Auranagabad dated 31.12.2020 wherein it was informed that a total of 8 offences against shop keepers had been registered in 6 different police stations who were selling prohibited nylon kite flying majas and a total of Rs. 13,830 have been confiscated as per the earlier order of the bench.

The bench was also informed the from the total 16 police stations in the city, only 6 have initiated appropriate steps under the orders passed by the court. The amicus curiae then placed on record the communications issued by the directorate of municipal administration to all the district collectors and municipal corporation commissioners dated 19.03.2020 wherein it was ordered that the authorities must ensure the compliance of NGT orders prohibiting sale and use of nylon manjas.

Furthermore, the bench observed that it is obvious from the news articles that the sale of nylon manjas are still taking place and none of the district collectors and municipal corporation authorities have taking directions of NGT seriously.

The Court issued the following directions in the matter:

  1. Amicus curiae shall add all DSPs, District Collectors and Municipal Corporation Commissioners as respondents within 12 districts who fall within the jurisdiction of the Bench.
  2. Notices to be issued to all the respondents in order to enable them to appear before the bench in the next date of hearing i.e. 05.01.2021.
  3. The government pleader shall ensure that a chart comprising of goods confiscated, offences registered and action initiated by the police stations on day-to-day basis i.e. for 1st January, 2nd January, 3rd January and 4th January, 2021 is submitted to the court and amicus curiae.
  4. Respondents shall take effective steps and ensure that taken with full force keeping in view the directions of the NGT and earlier orders of the bench. A detailed action report shall be placed before the bench on 05.01.2021.
  5. These orders are not being restricted only to shop keepers, selling outlets or godowns, but would apply even to localities, which may be found using such prohibited nylon threads for kite flying and appropriate offences and appropriate action would be initiated even against individuals.
  6. Further action against erring officials will be taken if there are further instances of localities affected by the nylon manjas or birds.
  7. Respondents to be made aware that if the court comes to a conclusion that the orders of NGT are violated, appropriate orders will be passed.

Case Name: Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation No. 8 of 2020

Next Date of Hearing: 05.01.2021

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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