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Non-implementation of order on noise pollution irks SC

PTI 09 Nov 2014, 11:39:56 AM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has expressed dissatisfaction over non-implementation of its 2005 directions issued to states to curb noise pollution, saying people's fundamental rights should be “respected and preserved”.  

“In our considered view, the Constitution, inter alia, casts a duty on the State and their authorities to ensure that every citizen's cherished rights guaranteed to him under the Constitution are respected and preserved, and he/she is allowed to enjoy them in letter and spirit subject to reasonable restrictions put on them, as dreamt by the framers of the Constitution,” a bench of justices Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and Ahay Manohar Sapre said.  

The apex court, in 2005, had issued a slew of directions to restrict the use of loudspeakers, bursting crackers and other things to curb noise pollution in the country.  

“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.

“No one shall beat a drum or tom-tom or blow a trumpet or beat or sound any instrument or use any sound amplifier at night (between 10.00 p.m. and 6 a.m.) except in public emergencies,” some of the directions had said.  

The court referred to the earlier directions and sought their implementation by state governments while disposing of a plea of Balwant Singh, a former DGP of Rajasthan who has been facing all kind of nuisances from protesters as his residence is near the Vidhan Sabha at Jaipur.

“We note with concern that though the aforesaid directions were issued by this court on 18.07.2005 for ensuring compliance by all the states but it seems that these directions were not taken note of much less implemented, at least, by the state of Rajasthan in letter and spirit with the result that the residents of Jaipur city had to suffer the nuisance of noise pollution apart from other related peculiar issues mentioned above so far as the appellant's case is concerned,” it said.

The directions of this court, declared as the law, need to be complied in “letter and spirit” by the states, it said.

Singh, who had retired as DGP in 1995, had said in his plea that he has a house very near to the Vidhan Sabha.  It has been his “misfortune” that frequently, persons belonging to political/non-political parties gather near his house and undertake protests, march, sit-ins for airing their grievances by using loudspeakers, the plea said.  

“Since there used to be a gathering of thousand/hundreds of people, the demonstrators would indiscriminately make use of the compound walls of nearby houses including that of the appellant's house to ease themselves frequently at any time,” the court said in its verdict.

To stop the protesters, even police put barricades in front of the gates of Singh and others.  Taking note of his plight, the court asked the state government and its police to take all necessary actions.