The high court also ruled that all places of worship The high court also ruled that all places of worshipshould strictly follow noise pollution rules and ifloudspeakers are used by them, the authorities concerned mustensure that permission is taken by them by following dueprocess of law. The court further ruled that in case of places of worshipwhich fall in silence zones, loudspeakers and public addresssystem should not be allowed at any cost. In areas other than places of worship in silence zones,loudspeakers and public address system should be totallybanned, the court ruled. In case of schools, colleges and hospitals which aresurrounded by silence zones within 100 metres of theirperipheries, use of loudspeakers or public address system bythese institutions would be allowed only if prior permissionis taken from the authorities provided the noise is withinpermissible limits. Moreover, in such cases loudspeakers should be installedwithin their premises, the bench ruled. The judges ruled that while granting permission to erectpandals during religious festivals, the Municipal Commissionerof the area should insist on an undertaking from theorganisers that they would not use loudspeakers oradvertisement hoardings without seeking permission from theconcerned authorities. The bench also ruled that while erecting pandals, theMunicipal Commissioner and Police of the respective areasshould ensure that pedestrian traffic in not disrupted as thepeople have a ‘right to good roads and footpath’ enshrinedunder Article 21 of the Constitution. The bench also asked the authorities to ensure that whileconstructing pandals the organisers do not dig up the roadsand obstruct pedestrian movements. The judges also asked the state government to create apublic awareness about noise pollution rules, saying it hasadverse effect not only on human beings but also on all theliving beings. Such awareness should be brought about among studentsin schools and colleges through social media, radio,television and newspapers, the bench observed. "The noise pollution rules have been enacted for thepeople of every religion and no religion demands or advocatesuse of loudspeakers during the festivals," said the court. The High Court cited a Supreme Court judgement tostate that freedom to practise religion does not extend to"any and every place". The judgement was delivered on petitions filed byThane resident Mahesh Bedekar, Awaz Foundation and others. PTISVS NRBZMN


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