The Allahabad High Court division bench comprising of Hon’ble Justices Pankaj Mithal and Vipin Chandra Dixit has recently dismissed a petition seeking to quash order of the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Shahganj, District Jaunpur on the use of amplifiers and loudspeakers on religious places on the ground that such use of sound equipment’s is likely to cause animosity between the two religious groups of the village.
The petition was filed to quash the order dated 12th June 2019 passed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate where he had disposed off the representations made by the petitioner for permission/renewal of the license to use amplifiers and loudspeakers on religious places on the ground that such use is likely to cause disturbance in the peace in the area. The petitioner previously had the license from the period from 15th January, 2018 to 14th July 2018, but when he applied for renewal his permission was denied.
The respondent had asked for a report from the Circle Officer, Shahganj who had stated in the report that upon spot inspection it was found that the area had a mixed population and if any party is allowed to use amplifiers then the tension would escalate. On a further inspection done by the Sub Divisional Magistrate and the Circle Officer the findings were the same.
The High Court observed that, “People in India do not realise that noise in itself is a sort of pollution. They are not even fully conscious about its ill effect on health though some concern is being shown to it in recent past. On the other hand, internationally, especially in the U.S.A., England and such other countries, people are very much conscious of the noise pollution and as a matter of course do not even blow horns of their cars and honking is considered to be bad manners as it causes not only inconvenience to others but also pollutes the environment causing hazards to health.”.
The Court also observed that, “Any sound producing instrument/equipment or amplifier can be used in public place without the permission of the authority concerned.”
It was submitted by the petitioners that use of loudspeakers for 2 minutes 5 times a day would neither cause noise pollution nor disturb the tranquility of the area, to which the court replied, “It is true that one can practice, profess and propagate religion as guaranteed under Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of India but the said right is not an absolute right. The right under Article 25 is a subject to the wider Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution and thus both of them have to be read together and construed harmoniously.”
The court thereby refused to interfere in the matter stating that it may result in causing imbalance.
-India Legal Bureau