The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) asking it reasons why the use of loudspeakers for giving aazan (call for prayers) in mosques should not be banned.
A division bench of Chief Justice Arvind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri issued the notice on a petition filed by Dr. Dharmendra Vishnu Bhai, a resident of Gandhinagar.
When asked about decibels allowed by the court for use of loudspeakers as per the prevailing pollution laws in the state, the petitioner said that sound up to 80 decibels is allowed, but mosques are using loudspeakers above 200 decibels.
The petitioner relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in the year 2000, which had issued directions on the control of noise pollution in the case of Church of God (Full Gospel) India) versus KR Majestic Colony Welfare Association and others.
The petitioner said no religion or denomination can claim that the use of loudspeakers for prayer or worship or religious rites is an integral part of the religious process and is protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.
The petitioner submitted that as per the Supreme Court judgment in the Church of God case, there is no right to use loudspeakers and no citizen can be compelled to listen to something which he does not want.
In response to a question as to why he doesn’t oppose the noise pollution in weddings processions caused by music bands, the petitioner said that while the mosque loudspeakers are a daily happening between 5.30 pm to 9 pm, a wedding is once in a while occasion.
The petitioner argued, ‘Why should those who do not believe in Islam hear the noise from noise pollution emanating from the mosque?’
The petitioner argued that when the use of loudspeakers was banned during the Ganpati festival, why it’s not be done in the case of mosques.
Courtasy: Awaz the Voice