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"Charges Not Specific": Allahabad HC Dismisses Contempt Plea Over Use Of Loudspeakers In Temples, Mosques Across UP

Sparsh Upadhyay
7 May 2022 4:21 PM GMT
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The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a contempt plea filed against the State Government for its failure to confine the use of loudspeakers in Temples and Mosques within the permissible limit of decibels across the State.

Noting that the plea had not referred to any mosque or temple which was using microphones beyond the permissible limit of decibels, the bench of Justice Saral Srivastava dismissed the plea, initially with 25K Cost, however, the order regarding the imposition of the cost was, later on, withdrawn by the Court.

Essentially, one Abdul Kayyum had moved to the High Court with his contempt plea alleging violation of two orders of the Writ Court dated May 27, 2013, & September 13, 2013, passed in Writ-C No.26941 of 2013.

In these orders, the Allahabad High Court had asked the State Government to ensure that temples and mosques in the State are allowed to use microphones/loudspeaker within the permissible limit of decibels only i.e. at low noise levels within the prescribed decibels limit.

The Court had further clarified that wherever the exact decibel limit can not be measured by the administration, the noise should not be heard beyond 50 meters from the place where it is originating.

The Court had also ordered that no building for religious purposes will be permitted to be constructed on public roads, streets, pavement, public parks, and other public places.

Now, petitioner Kayyum moved this instant contempt plea alleging that the State Government had not complied with the Court's order to confine the use of Loudspeakers within permissible limits of decibals and to contain the construction of religious buildings on public roads, streets, etc.

At the outset, the Court noted that there was no pleading in the contempt application as to which mosque or temple has used microphones beyond the permissible limit of decibels. However, the Court didn't observe anything regarding the construction of religious buildings on public roads, streets, etc

Further, the Court also observed that the applicant had not alleged any date, time and place of mosque and temple where microphones have been used beyond the permissible limit of decibels.

"The proceeding of contempt is a quasi-criminal proceeding. Unless and until there is specific pleading alleging the date, time, and place of violation of the order of this Court, no case for contempt is made out...In the contempt proceeding, if a specific charge is not made out from the pleading against the opposite party clearly stating the charge, no case for contempt is made out for the reason, as it is settled in law that no man should be unheard. Thus, until and unless the charge is specific, no opposite party would be in a position to rebut the charge." the Court further stressed.

Against this backdrop, considering the aforesaid fact, the Court found it to be a fit case where a cost of Rs.25,000/- should be imposed upon the applicant. However, later on, when the counsel for the applicant tendered an apology, the cost of Rs.25,000/- which had been imposed, was withdrawn.

In related news, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed a contempt plea filed regarding the usage of loudspeakers in the Temple as well as Mosque and observed that the same ws a sponsored litigation so as to affect the communal harmony of the State keeping in mind the State Elections.

Read more about the matter here: "Sponsored Litigation To Affect Communal Harmony During Polls": Allahabad HC Dismisses Contempt Plea Over Loudspeakers In Temple-Mosque

On May 4, 2022, the Allahabad High Court observed that the law has now been settled that the use of loudspeakers from mosques is not a fundamental right. The Bench of Justice Vivek Kumar Birla and Justice Vikas Budhwar said this while dealing with a writ plea filed by one Irfan.

Essentially, Irfan had moved to the High Court feeling aggrieved by an order passed by SDM Tehsil Bisauli, District Budaun rejecting his application seeking permission for playing loudspeaker/mike in a village Mosque at the time of azan.

Advocate Tahir Husain appeared for the petitioner. Standing Counsel Mata Prasad appeared for the State.

Case title - Abdul Kayyum v. Sri Neeraj Gutpa Prin. Secy. Home Lko. And 3 Others [CONTEMPT APPLICATION (CIVIL) No. - 5942 of 2014]

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 232

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