Responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on the use of loudspeakers for Azan in mosques, the state government told the Gujarat High Court that it was “taking measures to monitor and control it effectively and efficiently.
Dharmendra Prajapati, a doctor practicing in Gandhinagar, had last year filed a PIL seeking a ban and complained about a Zakaria mosque in Sector 5, alleging that loudspeakers were used at full volume for the azaan five times a day, albeit by a few people. Attended the prayer and the sound of Azan was disturbing the people living nearby. In response, the government said, “The respondent state is sensitive to the issue and realistic measures are being considered to control the unregulated or unauthorized use of loudspeaker and microphone systems.”
After delaying a response for more than a year, the government said there are rules for public order and neighborhood peace and that “noise pollution rules are applicable to all”, whether the loudspeakers are used for religious purposes, weddings or festivals.
The state government listed laws and regulations framed by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GBCB), orders passed by the National Green Tribunal and police training measures to control noise pollution. Loudspeaker and public address system cannot be used without the written permission of the authorities, it said. After listing the permissible sound limits and reiterating that loudspeakers cannot be used without permission, the government submitted that it is making a sincere effort to regulate the use of loudspeakers to avoid inconvenience to residents of all localities and the public at large.
The government further said, “The State is aware of the adverse effects of loudspeaker use on the residents of the neighborhood where loudspeakers are used and measures are being devised to effectively and efficiently monitor and control the use of loudspeakers and microphones. system.” The government dismissed allegations that officials were not acting on repeated complaints by doctors.