Supreme Court Of India

Dismissing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1. No religion prescribes that prayers should be performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be through voice-amplifiers or beating of drums. In a civilized society in the name of religion, activities which disturb old or infirm persons, students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during day time or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted. Young babies in the neighbourhood are also entitled to enjoy their natural right of sleeping in a peaceful atmosphere. A student preparing for his examination is entitled to concentrate on his studies without there being any unnecessary disturbance by the neighbours. Similarly, old and infirm are entitled to enjoy reasonable quietness during their leisure hours without there being any nuisance of noise pollution. Aged, sick people afflicted with psychic disturbances as well as children up to 6 years of age are considered to be very sensible to noise. Their rights are also required to be honoured. [18-D-E] 1.2. Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, rules for noise pollution level are framed which prescribe permissible limits of noise in residential, commercial, industrial areas or silence zone. Claiming a right is unjustifiable. In these days, the problem of noise pollution has become more serious with the increasing trend towards industrialization, urbanization and modernization and is having many evil effects including danger to the health. It may cause interruption of sleep, affect communication, loss of efficiency, hearing loss or deafness, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, allergy, distraction, mental stress and annoyance etc. This also affects animals alike. The extent of damage depends upon the duration and the intensity of noise. Sometimes it leads to serious law and order problem. Further, in an organized society, rights are related with duties towards others including neighbours. [18-G-H] 1.3. The direction given by the High Court to the authorities is only to follow the guidelines laid down by a Division Bench of the same High Court on the basis of the local acts which is in conformity with the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 framed by the Central Government under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 read with rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986. The rules are unambiguous, clear and speak for themselves. Considering the same, it cannot be said that the directions issued by the High Court are in any manner illegal or erroneous. [22-A-C] Appa Rao, M.S. v. Government of Tamil Nadu & Anr,, (1995) - 1 L.W. Vol. 115 319, relied on. 1.4. With regard to the rights under Article 25 or Article 26 of the Constitution which are subject to "public order, morality and health", it is not required to be dealt within detail mainly because no religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or any beating of drums. In any case, if there is such practice, it should not adversely affect the rights of others including that of being not disturbed in their activities. [24-G-H] Acharya Maharajshri Narendra Prasadji Anand Prasadji Maharaj & Ors. v. The State of Gujarat & Ors., [1975] 1 SCC 11, relied on. 1.5. Due to urbanization or industrialization, the noise pollution may in some area of a city/town might be exceeding permissible limits prescribed under the rules, but that would not be a ground for permitting others to increase the same by beating of drums or by use of voice amplifiers, loudspeakers or by such other musical instruments and, therefore, rules prescribing reasonable restrictions including the rules for the use of loudspeakers and voice amplifiers framed under the Madras Town Nuisance Act, 1889 and also the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 are required to be enforced. Even though the Rules are unambiguous, there is lack of awareness among the citizens as well as the implementation authorities about the Rules or its duty to implement the same. Noise polluting activities which are rampant and yet for one reason or the other, the aforesaid Rules, or the rules framed under various State Police Acts are not enforced. Hence the High Court has rightly directed implementation of the same. [25-C-E] Om Birangana Religious Society v. The State & Ors., CWN (1995-96) Vol. 100 617, referred to. CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal Appeal No. 732 of 2000.