India court cites noise pollution to ban disc jockey performances
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India court cites noise pollution to ban disc jockey performances

A bench of India’s Allahabad High Court, the constitutional court of record for the state of Uttar Pradesh, declared Tuesday that all disc jockey performances lead to noise that is “unpleasant and obnoxious,” directing the Uttar Pradesh government to not permit performances by disc jockeys in the state.

“Even if they operate at the minimum level of sound, it is beyond permissible limits under the rules. … They are a serious threat to human health, particularly of children, senior citizens, and patients admitted in hospitals,” judges Pradeep Singh Baghel and Pankaj Bhatia noted in a 31-page judgment. The decision was rendered in a public interest litigation petition filed by a lawyer who claimed to have been “aggrieved by the indiscriminate use of loudspeakers” in residential areas in the city of Prayagraj.

The court held disc jockey performances violate Rule 5 of India’s Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules of 2000. Rule 5 stipulates, “A loudspeaker or a public address system or any sound-producing instrument or a musical instrument or a sound amplifier shall not be used at night time except in closed premises for communication within, like auditoria, conference rooms, community halls or during a public emergency.”

Relying on government documents, the court established that 1860 loudspeakers were, at one point, operating without licenses in Prayagraj alone. The judgment notes, “In all such cases notices were issued, but no action has been taken against any of the offenders.” The judges criticized the state government and local authorities for failing “miserably” to perform “duties cast upon them” under the Noise Pollution Rules.

Individuals found guilty of violating the Noise Pollution Rules face imprisonment for a period that may extend to five years, and a fine that may extend to 100,000 Indian Rupees (USD $1,389) under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986.

The bench referred to the Indian Supreme Court’s decision in Re: Noise Pollution, a 2005 case that saw the country’s apex court recognize the right to live in freedom from noise pollution as a fundamental right protected by Article 21 of India’s constitution. The same judgment also saw the Supreme Court frame guidelines for the mitigation and management of noise pollution.