The Allahabad High Court on January 9 declined to quash an administrative order issued by Jaunpur district administration which refused permission to two mosques to use loudspeakers for azaan, call to prayer for Muslims. The order was uploaded on the court’s website on Monday. On 12th June, 2019, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) had refused permissions to two mosques to use amplifiers and loudspeakers for azaan.
A bench comprising of justices Pankaj Mithal and V C Dikshit dismissed the petition filed by Masroor Ahmad stating that, “It becomes quite evident that the petitioners have been refused permission to use sound amplifying system at the mosque not only for the inherent reason of noise pollution but in order to maintain peace and tranquillity in the area.” Ahmad, in his petition said that the order be quashed so that they are able to offer their prayers “in accordance with their religion”. The court dismissed the argument that using loudspeakers for azaan at specific time was essential part of their religion.
Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the bench said that no one can claim fundamental right to create noise pollution by amplifying sound. Dismissing the petition, the court lamented that people do not understand the hazardous effects of noise pollution. “No religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums. If there is such a practice, it should not adversely affect rights of others, including that of not being disturbed,” the court observed.
As per reports, the petition had applied to Jaunpur district administration in March 2019 to use loudspeakers in two mosques in Baddopur and Shahganj. On 7th March, 2019, Circle Officer of Shahganj carried out inspection and in his report stated that the area has mixed Hindu-Muslim population and if any of these communities are allowed to use loudspeakers, it could lead to communal tension. Following this, in June, the SDM denied permission to use loudspeakers by mosques.
A January 2018 order issued by Yogi Adityanath government in UP, no loudspeaker, public address system, sound-producing instrument or amplifier can be used in public place without official permission under Rule 5 of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.