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'Mosques Permitted To Use Loudspeakers Under Which Law?': Karnataka High Court Asks State

Mustafa Plumber
16 Nov 2021 2:30 PM GMT
Mosques Permitted To Use Loudspeakers Under Which Law?: Karnataka High Court Asks State
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The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State government and police to inform as to under what provisions of law the use of loudspeakers and public address systems by 16 mosques before it is allowed and what action is being taken to restrict such use in accordance with the Noise Pollution Rules. A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar...

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State government and police to inform as to under what provisions of law the use of loudspeakers and public address systems by 16 mosques before it is allowed and what action is being taken to restrict such use in accordance with the Noise Pollution Rules.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum in its order noted,

"We call upon the respondent state authorities to inform as to under what provisions of law, the use of loudspeakers and public address system have been allowed to be used by respondents 10 to 26 (Mosques) and what action is being taken to restrict the use in accordance with the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000."

Advocate Shridhar Prabhu, appearing for the petitioner Rakesh P and others, submitted that under Rule 5 (3) of the 2000 Rules, permission to use loudspeakers and public address systems cannot be given in perpetuity.

Rule 5(3) restricts the use of loud speakers/ public address system (and sound producing instruments). It authorizes the State Government to permit use of loud speakers and the likes during night hours (between 10.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight) on or during any cultural, religious or festive occasion of a limited duration not exceeding fifteen days in all during a calendar year.

Further the counsel said that Karnataka Waqf Board, which issued circular based on which the respondents installed loudspeakers, is not a competent authority to grant permission.

The counsel for the respondents (Mosques) opposed the petition and submitted that proper permission had been obtained from the police. The loudspeakers are fitted with a device that does not allow the sound to go beyond the permissible limits. The loudspeakers are also not being used between 10 pm and 6 am, the restricted time period under the Act.

Also Read: No Religion Prescribes Use Of Loudspeakers For Worshipping: Allahabad HC Declines Mosques' Request To Install Loudspeaker For Azaan

Suo-moto cognizance of noise pollution created by vehicles and night clubs

The court also took suo moto cognizance of the noise pollution created by modified/ amplified silencers fitted in two wheelers and four wheelers which are not as per the standard norms prescribed under the Motor Vehicle Act.

The bench orally observed, "If you stay near any main road you will realise how difficult it is to stay near the main road because of these vehicles." Accordingly, the court directed the state government and the police to inform what steps are being taken to curb such menace and directed that a drive should be launched to identify such vehicles and action be taken.

Further, the court also noted that, "The state authorities shall also take into consideration the operation of all such night clubs and organizations which are operating in violation of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000. The action taken report shall be submitted on the next date of hearing."

Also Read: Allahabad HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Noise Pollution By Modified Silencers Specifically On 'Bullets'

Case Title: Rakesh P v. State of Karnataka

Case No: Writ Petition No 4574/ 2021

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