30 Nov 2023

Use of loudspeakers in mosques for Azaan harmful for public health, claimed PIL; Gujarat High Court said this while delivering verdict

The Gujarat High Court, while rejecting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on the use of loudspeakers for Azaan in mosques, emphasized that such practice does not contribute to noise pollution. The PIL, filed by Bajrang Dal leader Shaktisinh Zala, claimed that the use of loudspeakers during Azaan adversely affects public health, especially that of children, and causes inconvenience.

The division bench of the Gujarat High Court, comprising Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha P Mai, deemed the petition "completely misconceived." The judges questioned the assertion that the human voice during Azaan could be considered noise pollution, stating, "How can the decibel level of sound reach such a level that it can threaten the health of the public at large."

Court drew attention to morning aarti in temples

During the hearing on Wednesday, the court drew attention to the morning aarti in temples, questioning whether the use of drums and music during early hours could be considered noise-free. The bench refused to entertain the PIL, emphasizing that such practices are rooted in belief and tradition and last for only a brief period.

The court also pointed out that there is a scientific method to measure noise pollution, but the petitioner failed to provide any data specific to the area to substantiate claims of Azaan causing noise pollution. The bench concluded that the petitioner's argument was based on the presence of people from different communities and religions in the vicinity where Azaan is broadcasted through loudspeakers. PIL alleged health hazards and inconvenience without concrete evidence, the HC said.

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