All HC | Indiscriminate use of loud speakers condemned. Noise pollution to be controlled.

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Pradeep Kumar Singh Baghel and Pankaj Bhatia, JJ. addressed the grievance with respect to indiscriminate use of loudspeakers in residential areas regardless of time.

Petitioner’s Grievance

In the present case, petitioners stated that the district administration has installed huge L.C.Ds equipped with amplifiers in the residential area. L.C.D starts from 4.00 a.m. till midnight regularly without any break with full sound. L.C.D creates a sound problem as well as a public nuisance in the residential area.

Further, it has also been submitted that, the high noise pollution has been the source of multiple age-related diseases resulting in serious problems in ears and heart. Son of Petitioner 2 who is a student of class 12th was unable to study for his examinations. It was also added that, the area had 3 hospitals/nursing homes which were also subjected to the noise pollution.

Submissions of the Counsel

Authorities failed to enforce the law and directions issued by the Supreme Court in a series of decisions. The noise pollution level reached an impermissible limit under the law. Further adding to the submissions, counsel for the petitioner stated that, in spite of the law laid down in the case of Noise Pollution (V), In Re, (2005) 5 SCC 733, and the statutory rules framed by the Central Government, on account of the inaction on the part of the concerned authority most of the citizens were inconvenient and their health was affected by the noise pollution.

Analysis of the Court

High Court noted that, in total 1860 loud speakers were found without any license. State Government and its functionaries had miserably failed to perform their duties cast upon them under the Rules, 2000 also have failed to enforce the direction of the Supreme Court issued from time to time.

“In India, people generally do not consider the noise as sort of pollution, hence, most of the people are not fully conscious about the effect of the noise pollution on their health.”

Being disappointed with the state of affairs, Court stated that, It is pity that administration is not serious in taking any action against those who breach the law and directions of the Supreme Court.

On an extensive reading of the Rules, Court found that they are mandatory in nature. It also classifies different areas/zones of the city in:

  • Industrial Area
  • Commercial Area
  • Residential Area
  • Silence Zone

But what the Court noted was that the silence zones were declared without adverting to the Rules, 2000. Therefore, in light of the discussion, State Government/appropriate authority is directed to undertake fresh exercise to declare the silence zone category in the light of the definition of Rule 2(e) and Rule 2(f) afresh.

Having due regard to the materials on record, further the Court added to its observation that,

“We are constrained to observe that the administration either, appears to be totally oblivious of the law and directions issued by the Supreme Court or there is gross inaction on its part to enforce the statutory rules and the directions of the Supreme Court which are binding upon all the authorities under Article 141 of the Constitution.”

Court cited several of Judgments of the Supreme Court and other High Courts dealing with the menace of noise pollution.

Conclusion

With a firm view, the High Court stated that the law relating to Noise Pollution needs to be strictly complied with in larger public interest. In addition to directions issued by the Supreme Court in Noise Pollution (V), In Re, (2005) 5 SCC 733in the present Judgment, Court issued the following directions:

  • DM shall give adequate publicity in leading newspapers regarding directions and Rules, 2000. Relevant contact details of the authorities concerned should be mentioned.
  • A toll-free number shall be provided to the citizens in order to make the complaints in relation to noise pollution. Authority concerned shall take action against offender in terms of Rule 7 of Rules, 2000. Anonymous complaint shall also be entertained.
  • Under the Rules, 2000, no permission for DJ shall be granted by the authority for the reason that noise generated by DJ is unpleasant and obnoxious level.
  • Team constituted by DM shall make a regular visit to their area especially before any festival and apprise the organisers regarding compliance of the Rules, 2000 and direction of the Supreme Court along with this Court.
  • All the places of worship of all religion shall be bound by the provisions of the Rules, 2000.
  • DM/Senior Superintendent of Police shall convene a meeting before the commencement of festivals with organisers of civil society to impress upon them to observe the law strictly and in the event of a failure the legal consequences may follow.
  • Non-compliance of the Rules attracts imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years and fine which may extend to Rs 1,00,000.
  • A fresh exercise be conducted in light of the definitions provided under Rule 2 (e) and (f) of the said Rules to categorize areas and designate noise standards.
  • Competent authority under the Rules, 2000 are charged personally with the duty of ensuring compliance of the order of the Supreme Court, extracted above, the Rules, 2000 and this order, failing which they shall be answerable to this Court in contempt jurisdiction.

Thus, the writ petition is allowed in the above terms. [Sushil Chandra Srivastava v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 3072, decided on 20-08-2019]

See these previous posts:

Use of loudspeaker or public address system prohibited from 10 pm to 6 am

U.P. Govt directed to file affidavit regarding curbing of noise pollution

Legal Control of Noise Pollution: A critical Evaluation

Places of worship not to cause noise pollution by use of loudspeakers

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