On Friday, the Allahabad High Court ruled that while reciting Azaan (call for Muslims to pray) by a Muezzin from a Masjid is integral to Islam, the use of amplifying devices such as loudspeakers are not, reported Bar and Bench. The Court held that usage of such devices for ‘Islamic call to prayer’ is not protected under Article 25 (Right to Freedom of Religion) of the Indian Constitution.
A Division Bench comprising of Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Ajit Kumar observed that the use of amplifying devices is subject to public order, health, morality, and other provisions of the Part III of the Indian Constitution.
The #AllahabadHighCourt on Friday allowed ‘azaan’ from mosques but said that the use of loudspeakers could not be permitted. The court said that ‘azaan’ was a part of Islam but using loudspeakers were not a part of the religion.— IANS Tweets (@ians_india) May 15, 2020
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The Court’s order came after Public Interest Litigations (PILs) were filed by MP Afzal Ansari, Congress leader Salman Khurshid, and Advocate S Wasim A Qadri, following the order of the District administration to restrict the recital of Azaan, amidst the Coronavirus lockdown. They sought permission for the recital of Azaan over amplifying devices claiming it to be an integral part of Islam.
Allahabad HC order on Azaan
The Allahabad High Court ordered, “Therefore, until and unless there is a license/permission from the authorities concerned under the Noise Pollution Rules, under no circumstances, Azan can be recited through any sound-amplifying devices.” Doing so, without requisite permission, will be deemed as a violation of Noise Pollution Rules. As such, the Court had directed to take strict action against such people. The Court order, initially reserved on May 5, also asked the district administration to not cause hindrance in the recital of Azaan, even during the lockdown as it is an integral part of Islam.
The order said:
“Therefore, it is held that Azan may be an essential and integral part of Islam but the recitation of Azan through loud speakers or other sound-amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion, warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health and to other provisions of part III of the Constitution of India.”