IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Writ Petition (C) No. 72 of 1998 with Civil Appeal No. 3735 of 2005 [Arising out of SLP (C) No. 21851/2003]
Decided On: 18.07.2005
Appellants: In Re: Noise Pollution – Implementation of the Laws for restricting use of loudspeakers and high volume producing sound systems
Appellants: Forum, Prevention of Envn. and Sound Pollution
Respondent: Union of India (UOI) and Anr.
The present PIL was filed by one Mr. Shri Anil K. Mittal. The immediate provocation for filing the petition was an article published in newspaper on January 3, 1998 which reported a story about the girl who was victimized to rape. The report read that the victim of rape cried for help but her voice went unheard because of the blaring noise of music and loudspeaker in the neighbouhood.
The petitioner in this case seeks to invoke the writ jurisdiction of this court so that there may not be victims of noise pollution in future. However, the principal prayers sought by the petitioner is rigorous enforcement of existing laws for restricting the use of loudspeakers and other high volume noise producing audio video system. Though the sweep of hearing in these matters under the PIL is very wide, the principle thrust of the writ petitioner has been directed towards noise created by fireworks, loud speakers used especially by political parties, at religious places and on religious and social occasion or festivals.
The present case provided an opportunity to the court for examining several questions relating to noise pollution like what is noise? What are its adverse effects? Whether noise pollution runs in conflict with the fundamental rights of the people? And what relief can be allowed by way of directions issued in public interest?
The court in this case came up with several directions in order to reduce the menace of noise pollution, The brief note of such directions are listed below.
1. Firecrackers shall be evaluated on the basis of chemical composition unlike earlier where firecrackers are evaluated on the basis of noise levels.
2. Department of explosive (DOE) were directed to conduct study for this purpose and to specify composition of chemicals allowable in firecrackers and to decide them as categories like sound emitting firecrackers and colur/light emitting firecrackers
3. There shall be a complete ban on bursting sound emitting firecrackers between 10 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.
4. Every manufacturers of firecrackers to mention details of its chemical contents on its box and state that is satisfies the requirements as laid down by DOE
5. Firecrackers for the purpose of export can be manufactured only by the person who has export order.
6. Noise levels of the firecrackers to be exported should conform to the noise level prescribed in the country to which they are intended to be exported.
7. The noise level at the boundary of the public place, where loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10 dB(A) above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75 dB(A) whichever is lower.
8. No one shall beat a drum or tom-tom or blow a trumpet or beat or sound any instrument or use any sound amplified at night (between 10.00 p.m. and 6.a.m.) except in public emergencies.
9. The peripheral noise level or privately owned sound system shall not exceed by more than 5 dB(A) than the ambient air quality standard specified for the area in which it issued, at the boundary of the private place.
10. No horn should be allowed to be used at night (between 10.p.m. and 6.a.m.) in residential areas except in exceptional circumstances.
11. State to bring awareness among the public as to the hazardous effects of noise pollution by adding a chapter on environment in text books. Campaigning in anticipating of festivals, events and ceremonial occasions whereat firecrackers are likely to be use.
12.State shall specify ambient air quality standard in different areas.
13.State shall seize loud speakers and amplifiers making noise beyond permissible limits.