The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to accept the Maharashtra government’s stand that in light of the new amendment to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000, silence zones have ceased to exist in the state.
The state said new silence zones could only be notified by the state government under the new amendment.
A bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla said the earlier judgment passed in August 2016 would continue to operate until the state government files an application for review of that judgment and the same is finally decided.
Under this judgment, areas within 100 m of hospitals, educational institutions and courts were declared as silence zones.
A day earlier, Advocate-General AA Kumbhakoni had argued that in light of the Centre’s amendment to Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules on August 10 this year, the court’s earlier decision would cease to operate.
More importantly, under the amendment, only those areas that have been specifically notified as silence zones will be considered the same.
AG Kumbhakoni submitted that the state would be carrying out a fresh exercise to identify silence zones. He justified the stand by submitting that if the earlier order was strictly implemented, then there would hardly be any space that is not a silence zone.
The court had sought the state’s reply with regard to silence zones after an affidavit was submitted on behalf of the state saying that new silence zones are to be notified by the state only.
AG Kumbhakoni also clarified that during the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival, permissions for pandals etc, would be granted with a limit on the decibel level.
“The state cannot take a stand that loudspeakers can be used anywhere. It is unfair,” Justice Oka said after hearing the state’s stand on the issue.
The matter was adjourned and will come up again before the bench on Thursday morning.
With two days left for the festival to begin, the court is expected to take a decision tomorrow.