Crackers and Loud music after 10 PM
Last week a lot of fire crackers were being burst in and around where I stay, well past 10pm and it seemed like most of them were banned ones. Such bursting of crackers was accompanied by very loud music. I came to know that apparently they had obtained commission from the municipality to play such loud music beyond the permissible decibel level and 10pm. Is that legally possible? What is the law regarding this situation?
Noise pollution is mainly governed under Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 which exercises its power conferred under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Section 5(1) of the said rules do allow the use of loud speaker after obtaining permission from the competent authority but such permission can be taken for not more than 15 days.
A complaint can be made to the competent authority via the local police if there is any violation regarding the sound limit. If the authority is satisfied by the information obtained in the report from the officer in-charge, it shall take all the necessary steps to prevent any kind of annoyance, disturbance, and risk to any person or property around such vicinity (Section 8 of the said rules). The authority can also take action on its own if it feels rules have been violated.
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution gives everyone a right to life and personal liberty. Anyone who wants to live a peaceful and quiet life sure has right to freedom from noise under the Constitution. A writ of Mandamus can be filed to command the competent authority to take action against such noise pollution.
In a case, the High Court decided to impose restriction by the State Government during 9pm- 7 am for using microphone and loud speakers.
Noise pollution can also be penalized as public nuisance under section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Whoever commits public nuisance shall be punished with a fine, which may extend to Rs 200.
Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 has also empowered District Magistrate, Sub- Divisional Magistrate and Executive Magistrate on behalf of the State Government to receive report for any kind of public nuisance and pass any order of conditional or permanent nature.
A civil suit can also be filed for claiming damages for nuisance, under the law of torts.
 AIR 1999 CAL 15
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