Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 – Loudspeakers – Singing of devotional songs by religious institutions – Should be inconformity with the rules.
Whatever be the justification for playing devolution songs in the early morning and at dusk or at any time it has to be in conformity with the rules that are in force. Repetition and regular play of even excellent music, may turn out to be offensive, and disturbing , depending upon the attitude of those who are obliged to receive the music per force. In the matter of loudspeakers, because of the statutory rules, the uses are obliged to respect the feelings of others. [Aravindakshan vs. Superintendence. 2002 (3) KLT 860. M.Ramachandran (J)]
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT
1. The petitioner confines the relief to the disposal of Ext. P2 on merits by the first respondent.
2. The petitioner submits that use of loud speakers at the instance of a temple authority violates his right to life. The standing counsel for the third respondent was heard as also the counsel for respondents 1 and 2. In view of the directions that are being passed, notice need not be issued to the 4th respondent.
3. It is to be noticed that the purpose of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India was to regulate and control noise producing and generating source stations. Advertence to the rules would indicate that different standards were prescribed based on land uses. The State Government had been obliged under R.3 to take necessary steps for notification of the zones / areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence areas / zones for the purpose of implementation of noise standards applicable to different areas.
4. It may be relevant to note that a Division Bench of this Court had occasion to direct the Government of Kerala to prescribe such zones (see the judgment in Writ Appeal No. 3125 of 2001). The Chief Town Planner of the State in consultation with the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, had submitted proposals and by notification dated 20th of April 2002, the Government had notified the entire State into two categories. They were: (1) Areas covered under the Town Planning Schemes and (2) Areas not covered under the Town Planning Schemes. In respect of areas coming under the first category, the areas were to be categorised into different land uses zones for enforcement of Noise Pollution Control (Regulation and Control) Rules. Category A was industrial areas, category B was commercial areas, and category C was residential areas and category D silence zone.
5. In respect of category D, which referred to silence zones, the areas were shown as comprising up to one hundred metre around the recognised / approved institutions and establishments, Hospitals, Educational Institutions and Courts as defined in the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules. The religious places were also to be included in this category. As respects, areas not covered under the Town Planning Scheme (and perhaps the petitioner comes within the above area) similarly industrial areas, commercial areas, residential areas and silence zones came respectively as under A, B, C and D categories.In the category of residential areas notified as under category C, areas and buildings used for sleeping accommodation and normal residential purposes were to come. The silence zones were likewise, hospitals, educational institutions etc., as also religious places. The anxiety of the Legislature is further clear from the incorporation of additionally reserve forests and wild life sanctuaries also within the silence zone. In respect of the respective areas, it is imperative that noise standards are to be maintained as prescribed as in the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.