Noise is common in everyday life, but when it goes above a certain limit, it is considered to be pollution1 as well as a public nuisance1. Noise at such levels may be injurious to human beings, living creatures, plants, property and the environment2
The law known as the Noise Pollution (Regulation And Control) Rules, 2000 regulates and controls noise in India.
Right to Live in Peace without Noise
Everyone has the right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950 to live in peace, comfort and quiet within their house and has a right to prevent the noise from reaching them3. No one can claim a right to create noise even in their own premises which would travel beyond their precincts and cause nuisance to neighbours or others. That’s why any noise which affects the ordinary comforts of life of a person is also considered to be a nuisance4.
Meaning of Noise
The word noise is not explained in any law but noise is considered to be an environmental pollutant1 in India. It is one of the main causes of environmental pollution.
Noise derives its meaning from the Latin term ‘nausea’. Courts have defined noise as ‘unwanted sound, a potential hazard to health and communication dumped into the environment with regard to the adverse effect it may have on unwilling ears4. For example, a blaring horn causes unwanted noise but the sound which pleases the listeners is music and is not considered to be noise4.
Causing Noise Pollution
Decibel is the unit of measurement of noise. There are noise limits that you will have to follow depending on the area you live in. However, since measuring noise requires scientific instruments (such as a sound level meter), you may not always know if you are exceeding the noise limits for a particular area. In such cases, you should:
Make sure that regardless of what you do or which equipment you use, it does not turn out to be noisy and a disturbance for others. For example, if you are playing music during a party, try to keep the volume down at night time while people are sleeping.
Don’t wait for your neighbours or people around you to file a complaint to the police. If they mention that you are making noise that is disturbing them, try to reduce the noise.
Please note that it does not matter whether you made the noise unintentionally or intentionally; all that matters is whether you have created too much noise.
Complaining against Noise Pollution
If any noise causes you annoyance, discomfort or any injury, then you can file a complaint with the police or your State’s Pollution Control Board. Otherwise, you can also complain if you know that the noise5. level is disturbing you or it happens at night between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.
- Section 2 (a) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- Central Pollution Control Board, WHO Guidelines for Noise Quality, https://cpcb.nic.in/who-guidelines-for-noise-quality/Some common sources of noise pollution are industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, etc.(Preamble, Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules, 2000)
- Burrabazar Fireworks Dealers Association v. Commissioner of Police, Calcutta AIR 1998 Cal 121
- Noise Pollution (V), In re, (2005) 5 SCC 733
- Rule 7, Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules, 2000