Lahore High Court announces verdict on petition seeking Basant ban in Punjab
LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday disposed of petitions against plan to celebrate Basant, after the provincial government assured that it would not allow kite flying activity and a ban would remain in place this year. Justice Shakeel-ur-Rehman Khan heard multiple petitions filed by Advocates Safdar Shaheen Pirzada, Sheraz Zaka and others against earlier announced plan to celebrate basant. Earlier, a law officer appeared before the court on behalf of the Punjab government and submitted a report. He assured that government would not allow any kite flying activity and a ban would remain intact this year. He further submitted that the government would not allow any kite flying activity until safety precautionary measures were implemented through legislation. At this, the court disposed of the petitions observing that safety measures were necessary for the purpose. The petitioners had filed the petitions in public interest, pleading that the kite flying was a deadly sport and could not be allowed at the cost of citizens' fundamental rights. The petitioners also challenged the Punjab Prohibition of Kite Flying Ordinance 2001 under which the government enjoyed discretionary powers to permit kite-flying activities. They said the Supreme Court in its 2006 judgment had declared a ban on kite-flying and celebration of basant festival a violation of the fundamental rights. However, they said the government introduced an amendment to the law, acquiring the power to allow kite-flying without defining any criteria. The petitioners asked the court to restrain the government from allowing kite-flying or celebration of basant festival. They further appealed the court to declare null and void the section 4(1) and 4-B of the Ordinance, which empowered the government to permit kite-flying.