Allahabad High Court: In line with the law laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the series of case laws that the right to live in freedom from noise pollution is a fundamental right under Article 21 of COI, the division bench of Dilip Gupta and M C Tripathi JJ. held that noise pollution beyond permissible limits is a restriction on the aforesaid right as noise pollution has a direct effect on sleep, hearing, communication, mental and physical health. The Court further observed that Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 (Rules) have been framed to regulate and control noise pollution and under it, it is the duty of the State Government to ensure that the existing noise levels do not exceed the prescribed air quality standards and rules restricting the use of loud speakers, public address systems, sound producing instruments, sounds emitting construction equipments are strictly enforced.
In the instant case, the petitioners have been offering prayers in one temple of Lord Shiva with the help of loud speakers they performed bhajans and aarti. The Counsel for petitioners Mr. Rajesh Pathik, owing to the Right to Religion guaranteed as a Fundamental Right under the Constitution, submitted that the authorities were not justified in stopping the use of the loud speakers when they are not taking such action against persons belonging to a different community who have been using loud speakers for religious purposes.
The Court also cited Supreme Court in Noise Pollution (V), In Re Unknown with forum, prevention of Environmental & Sound Pollution v. Union of India (2005) 5 SCC 733 which held that everyone has a fundamental right to live in peace, comfort and quiet within his/her house under Article 21 of COI. The Court, with the intent to strike a balance between right to live in freedom from noise pollution and right to religion, further directed the authorities concerned and all police stations to ensure that there is no noise pollution by use of loud speakers or any other device in places of worship or any building in the district beyond the prescribed limit in the Rules and to act immediately on any complaint made by any citizen in this regard. Chunnu Singh v. State of U.P., PIL No. 37356 of 2014, decided on 22.07.2014