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Loudspeakers can blare in Mumbai during the Ganapati Visarjan festivities on September 5, with the Supreme Court on Monday staying a High Court order banning their use in the state. The Bombay High Court on September 1 had granted an interim stay to a recent amendment to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules that led to the elimination of 1,573 notified ‘silence zones’ in Mumbai ahead of festive season.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the social activists on a plea of state government and stayed the September 1 order of high court
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for state government, said that the high court has erred in staying the rules which cannot be done. “If these all India rules are implemented in a literal sense, then you cannot use loudspeakers near a small clinic, school or even court premises which will virtually make the entire country go silent. He said if we go strictly by these nationwide rules, then no function can be held even at the Supreme Court lawns.”
Senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for some social activists, said the high court was justified in staying the rules and even the apex court has in the past stayed them. The bench asked Singh as to what will be the impact of lifting of this ban in the state. The senior advocate said then the government will allow the processions during Ganesh Visarjan revelry with loudspeakers being played.
The bench said it will look into the matter. The high court had held that the amendment was prima facie “unconstitutional” and violated the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.
Its stay order had restored the “position prior to August 10 notification (amending the rules)”. On August 10, the Centre had issued a notification amending the rules, making state governments responsible for specifically notifying silence zones in their jurisdiction.
The Court said that as an interim measure, it is directed that there shall be stay of the operation of the order dated 1 st September, 2017, passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in Public Interest Litigation (Stamp) No.24110 of 2017 and Writ Petition No.9508 of 2017.
As we have stayed the operation of the impugned order, we are absolutely certain that the High Court shall not pass any further interim order in this regard.
The matter be listed on 22nd September, 2017