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Satish Narayan Jha | HENB | Ahamedabad | Feb 15, 2022:: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government on a public interest litigation (PIL being No. R/WPPIL/2/2022) seeking a ban on loudspeakers used for azaan or call to prayers at mosques across the state. The petition has claimed that these loudspeakers are “causing great disturbance to the public at large and it causes noise pollution.”
The division bench of chief justice Aravind Kumar and justice Ashutosh J Shastri after briefly hearing the contentions matter issued the notice to the state. While, the bench asked the petitioner’s lawyer Dharmesh Chandrakant Gurjar about guidelines prescribing noise pollution rules, he responded that “80 decibel is permissible but the loudspeakers at the mosques create sounds over 200 decibels.”
While issuing notice returnable on March 10, the bench also pointed out noise pollution during the weddings. Gurjar said weddings are once in a lifetime but loudspeakers at mosques create noise five times a day, and asked why people who don’t believe in Islam should listen to it. He also said that during festivals like Navratri there are guidelines and licences are issued for use of loudspeakers but in case of mosques there are no such provisions.
Citing several judgements, the petition stated, “Supreme Court has held that no religion prescribes that prayers should be performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be through voice amplifiers or beating of drums. It is also held that in a civilised society in the name of religion, activities which disturb old or infirm persons, students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during daytime or other persons carrying on other activities, cannot be permitted because in case of student, he/she preparing for his/her examination is entitled to concentrate on his/her studies without there being any unnecessary disturbance.”
The petition has been filed by Dharmendra Vishnubhai Prajapati who runs a clinic in state capital Gandhinagar. He has said that “because of the use of loudspeakers at the mosque situated in the city, it is causing great disturbance to the public at large and it also creates noise pollution and, hence, appropriate orders and directions are required to be issued in the interest of justice.”
He has said that the five times a day prayers are offered from morning to night using the loudspeakers, which “cause great inconvenience and disturbance to nearby residents.” The PIL was filed back in 2020 but was registered only in January this year due to technical reasons.
__inputs from Deccan Herald.
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