Karnataka: Amid a raging debate over loudspeakers, Karnataka government has banned the use of loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am. A notification issued by the government said that a loudspeaker or a public address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from the designated authorities.
The government has asked all users of “sound-producing instruments” to obtain written permission from authorities within 15 days, as part of a broad set of directions to regulate the use of loudspeakers in the state, in the wake of azan versus Hanuman Chalisa row.
“A loudspeaker or a public address system shall not be used at night (between 10.00 pm to 6.00 am) except in closed premises for communication within e.g., auditoria, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls,” the circular said. The circular cited the Supreme Court order which has said that the noise level at the boundary of the public place, where a 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. “The State Government hereby reiterates that the Government order…under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000 are to be strictly followed and enforced for Regulation of Noise Pollution from loudspeakers/public address system and sound-producing instruments,” it read.
The loudspeakers row started when the MNS chief on April 12 gave an ultimatum to the Maharashtra government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3, failing which, he warned, MNS workers will play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers.
Reacting to the order, Karnataka minister for environment, ecology and tourism Anand Singh said the religious institutions have to abide by the rule. “If they break the law related to restrictions after a certain time, then action will be taken,” he told reporters.
The notification comes days after Sri Ram Sene Chief Pramod Muthalik provoked the government to act against the use of loudspeakers at mosques and urged temples to play Hanuman Chalisa at 5 am as a counter to Azan. “Why we are doing early morning first because they cannot use mics or speakers between 10 pm to 6 am according to Court, but they use it at 5 AM. So we too will violate and thereby warn the government…our fight is not against Azaan in mosques or offering prayers, but against using loudspeakers,” he had said.