Shut off

In view of the increasing noise pollution in the name of religion, the Supreme Court (SC) has passed an order against the use of loudspeakers and drums for religious purposes. "Activities which disturb elderly persons, students or children cannot be permitted' and a pollution free environment is a natural right for everyone, noted Justice M B Shah and S N Phukhan, while passing the order.

The judgement was passed in response to a complaint made by Majestic Colony Welfare Association, Chennai, against the Church of God. The SC directive comes in the wake of a Delhi High Court order ruling that firecrackers, a source of noise pollution during Diwali, should be burst only between 6 pm to 11 pm.

"Continuous exposure to high frequency sounds can lead to hearing problems,' says H C Bahri, a Delhi-based consultant surgeon. Though noise pollution has been considered as nuisance, authorities have been unable to take action against religious groups. The pronouncement has provided the authorities with a tool to take care of the nuisance, says Sumit Bansal, an advocate at the Delhi High Court.