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Loudspeaker Crackdown: Court orders and Govt directives


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Noise Pollution

Mains level: Crackdown on noise pollution

Illegal and unauthorized loudspeakers had been taken down across the Uttar Pradesh and their loudness had been capped, under “an existing government order of 2018, and set rules for sound decibel limits and court directions”.

What is the news?

  • The UP state authorities have taken action since the loudspeaker crackdown began in our country.
  • Notices were served to alleged violators by local police stations citing the order of Allahabad High Court of 2017, and centre’s the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000.
  • The recent UP order asked officials to remove illegal loudspeakers after dialogue and coordination with religious leaders, and to ensure that decibel levels are kept within laid down limits.

Legal basis of loudspeaker crackdowns

(a) Orders of 2022, 2018

  • The April 23 order said that two earlier orders passed by the government in 2018 were not being followed, and the situation needed to be rectified.
  • Those earlier orders had been passed to ensure implementation of The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
  • However, it had come to knowledge that many religious institutions are violating the standard decibel norms and are using loudspeakers in large numbers.

(b) The Noise Pollution Rules, 2000

  • The 2000 Rules define “Ambient Air Quality Standards in Respect of Noise”, i.e., Industrial, Commercial, Residential, and Silence Zones.
  • It asked officials to demarcate these areas and to ensure that the correct norms were followed.
  • Each police station has been asked to prepare a list of religious institutions using loudspeakers under their jurisdiction.

What is noise pollution?

  • Noise is defined as unwanted sound. A sound might be unwanted because it is loud, distracting, or annoying.
  • Noise pollution is manmade sound in the environment that may be harmful to humans or animals.

Objective of the NPR, 2000: To regulate and control noise producing and generating sources with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise

Important compliance’s under NPR, 2000

  • What are the restrictions on using loud speaker or musical system at night?
    : A person cannot play a loud speaker, public address system, sound producing instrument, musical instrument or a sound amplifier at night time except in closed premises like auditorium, conference rooms, community halls or banquet halls.
  • What is the noise level for using loudspeakers or the public address?
    : The persons using loudspeakers or public address shall maintain the noise level and restrain it from exceeding 10 dB (A) above the ambient noise standards for the area specified or 75 dB (A) whichever is lower.
  • What is the Noise level for a private sound system?
    : The persons owning a private sound system or a sound producing instrument shall not, exceed the noise above 5 dB (A) the noise standards specified for the area in which it is used.
  • What are the prohibitions on violating the silence zone areas?
    A person shall not do the following acts in silence zone

    1. Playing any music or uses any sound amplifiers,
    2. A drum or tom-tom or blows a horn either musical or pressure, or trumpet or beats or sounds  any instrument, or
    3. Playing any musical or other performance of a to attract crowd
    4. Bursting sound-emitting firecrackers
    5. Using a loudspeaker or a public address system.


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