The vibrant festival of Makar Sankranti is almost here. In 2019, it will be celebrated on January 14. Each year this festival is observed to mark the first day of sun’s transit into Makara (Capricorn). It also marks the end of the month with the winter solstice. After this the days starts getting longer. This is one among very few festivals that are observed according to sun cycles, as most of the festivals in India are celebrated according to lunar cycles. This festival is celebrated under many names across the nation. One of the specialties associated with Makar Sankranti is flying kites.
People gather in rooftops to cover the sky with colorful kites. From kids to adults, everyone gets indulged in the beautiful ceremony of kite flying. However, do you know that this seemingly harmless act can land you in jail?
Wondering how? There is a provision under the Aircraft Act, 1934 that makes negligent kite flying a crime. Though horribly outdated but under Section 11 of the act, you can actually land up in jail. It means flying kite without prior permission is a crime. A person can be given up to two years of jail time. There can also be fine imposed that can very well go up to 10 lakh.
Wondering why flying kite is illegal under Aircraft Act? It may surprise you but the Act actually classifies kite as aircraft. What is even more baffling is the inclusion of balloons in this list. This is what the law states:
“’Aircraft’ means any machine which can derive support in the atmosphere from reactions of the air, a [other than reactions of the air against the earth’s surface] and includes balloons, whether fixed or free, airships, kites, gliders and flying machines.”
You know the funniest part? Earlier this law provided a maximum prison time of six months with up to Rs 10,000 as fine. After an amendment in 2008, the monetary figure and imprisonment sentences were increased. The rampant breaking of this law is clear evidence that people are unaware that flying kite is illegal in India. What do you think about this law? Should it be scrapped down? Why don’t you share your thoughts in the comments below?