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Uttarayan Festival Amid COVID: Gujarat High Court Agrees To State Govt's Guidelines, Allows Kite Flying With Restrictions

Sparsh Upadhyay
13 Jan 2021 4:09 PM GMT
Uttarayan Festival Amid COVID, Kite Flying Allowed

While hearing the plea seeking complete ban/prohibition on kite flying and use of crackers on the festival of Uttarayan, the Gujarat High Court last week agreed to the 13-point guidelines submitted before the Court by the State Government.

The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J. B. Pardiwala observed that the instructions as placed before it on behalf of the State are reasonable.

Importantly, the Advocate General submitted before the Court that the kite flying business in the 2020 Uttarayan festival was of more than Rs.600 Crores and that it caters to 1,25,000 families and it is their single crop in a year.

He, therefore, submitted that keeping in mind the interest of the kite flying manufacturing also, the kite flying may be permitted subject to the restrictions.

Submissions made by the Advocate General

The Advocate General placed before the Court the possible measures/instructions decided by the State Government to ensure the containment of the spread of COVID-­19 during the festival of Uttarayan and such instructions to be strictly followed and implemented.

The said instructions are (list not exhaustive):

  • No gathering and flying of kites at public places/open grounds/roads are allowed.
  • It is advisable that this time, the Festival of Uttarayan is celebrated in restrictive manner with the close family members only.
  • Without mask nobody is allowed to gather on terrace of building/flat for kite flying. It is also mandatory that they should strictly follow the norm of social distancing and keep arrangement of sanitizers there.
  • No person other than the residents of the flats or society shall be allowed on terraces of building/flat or open grounds in the residential societies.
  • Large gathering of People on terraces of building/flat or open grounds in the residential societies is prohibited.
  • Use of loud speakers, DJs and music systems are prohibited as it may attract large gathering on terrace of building/flat or open grounds, which may increase the risk of infection of Covid­19.
  • Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home.
  • No one is allowed to display any writing/slogans/pictures on kites that can affect the sentiments of society and disturb public tranquillity.
  • Use of Chinese Sky Lantern, Chinese Tukkals, synthetic/glass coated Manja, Plastic Manja is strictly prohibited in accordance with the directives of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
  • Persons visiting the kite markets located at various places in the State, like at Raipur, Tankshal, Naroda, etc. in the City of Ahmedabad, are directed to strictly observe all Covid­19 protocols and assist the police personnel for regulating their presence.
  • The directives issued vide notifications/guidelines by the Central Government and the State Government with respect to the Covid­19 shall be strictly followed.

Taking into account the guidelines, the Court said that the State may accordingly issue necessary circulars and orders.

However, the Court directed the state government to add to the guidelines that in case of breach, secretary of the residents' welfare association or housing society concerned shall be held responsible.

It may be noted that the State Government on Friday issued a notification allowing the festival to be celebrated within housing societies across the state while prohibiting kite-flying at public places.

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