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Loudspeakers' ban can be relaxed: court

Legal Correspondent

But not for more than 15 days


  • States should notify dates well in advance
  • "Blanket ban takes away their rights"
  • Centre supports relaxation

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the constitutional validity of a rule empowering the States to allow use of loudspeakers till midnight during festivals and religious occasions for 15 days a year.

    At present there is a ban between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and it is relaxed for two hours beyond 10 p.m.

    A Bench comprising Chief Justice R. C. Lahoti and Justice Ashok Bhan held that the States could relax the ban under Rule 5 of the Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules as amended in 2002. But under no circumstances should they relax it for more than 15 days or beyond midnight.

    The States should notify the dates well in advance and there should be no attempt to enlarge the scope of the amended rule.

    The Forum, Prevention of Environment and Sound Pollution, questioned the validity of Rule 5 of the amended rules and the Kerala High Court dismissed the petition.

    A special leave petition against this judgment was filed in the apex court.

    On October 3, it was brought to the notice of the Bench that as the validity of the rule was upheld, the States would be within their rights to relax the ban for 15 days.

    The Gujarat and Maharashtra Governments had pointed out that though the amendment found a mention in the apex court judgment, its validity was neither considered nor struck down.

    It was argued that the July 18 apex court order, imposing a blanket ban on use of loudspeakers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., took away the right granted to the States under the amended rule.

    The Centre supported the relaxation for 15 days on religious occasions.

    It said the court could pass an order saying no further relaxation was permissible.

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