There are multiple religions and numerous communities or sects, which play prayers through loudspeakers during religious festivals and during prayer times. Sometimes the beating of drums or reciting of prayers or use of microphones and loudspeakers may cause disturbance to old or infirm persons, students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during day-time or other persons carrying on other activities.
The Court1 has held that no religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums as it would interfere with the rights of those living nearby to live in peace. Even though the right to religion exists, the Court said that enjoyment of one’s rights must be consistent with the enjoyment of rights also by others. So if noise is created in the name of religion, it has to follow the noise pollution laws in India as well as the noise limits depending on the area.
Using such equipment or instruments will not be considered as noise pollution when it is conducted on days notified by the State Government. The Government will decide in advance which special days (maximum 15 days) would require such speakers or music systems. For example, the Government may allow during festivals like Diwali, Onam, Pongal, etc.
- Church of God (Full Gospel) in India Vs. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association and Others – Court Judgment (2000) 7 SCC 282.