Ahmedabad, Nov 28 (IANS): The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to impose a prohibition on the utilisation of loudspeakers for broadcasting azaan, or the Islamic call to prayer, from mosques.
A bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha P. Mayee termed the petition as "wholly misconceived".
The PIL by Bajrang Dal leader Shaktisinh Zala alleged that amplifying azaan via loudspeakers resulted in "noise pollution," adversely affecting the health of the general populace, particularly children, and causing other inconveniences.
However, the court observed that the petitioner's claims lacked empirical evidence and scientific basis. In its judgment, the bench emphasised that azaan, typically lasting a maximum of 10 minutes, was unlikely to reach decibel levels that could constitute a significant noise pollution hazard.
It expressed skepticism regarding the petitioner's ability to establish that the human voice, amplified through loudspeakers during azaan, could generate sufficient decibels to create a public health hazard.
The court further questioned the petitioner's counsel about sounds of bells and gongs during temple rituals.
"In your temple, the morning aarti with drums and music also starts early at 3 am. Does it not cause noise? Can you claim that the noise of ghanta (bell) and ghadiyal (gong) is confined within temple premises only and does not extend outside?" the bench asked.
Highlighting the existence of scientific methods for measuring noise pollution, it noted that the PIL needed to furnish concrete data or studies to substantiate the claim that a 10-minute azaan could result in noise pollution.