DELHI HIGH COURT: REMOVAL OF LOUDSPEAKERS FROM RELIGIOUS PLACES
The Delhi High Court in a Bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Union of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and Delhi Police Commissioner on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Sanjjiiv Kkumaar, for removal of loudspeakers from all religious structures on the ground that their use is an encroachment on a person’s “right to be left alone and spatial control” and thus violates the newly recognised fundamental right to privacy.
The Petitioner traced the advent of all religions in India and quoted that the loudspeakers were never part of any religion as they came into existence only in 1924, “Hinduism is 4,000 years old, Jainism is 2,600 years old, Buddhism is 2,500 years old, Christianity is 2,000 years old, Islam is 400 years old, Sikhism is 500 years old and on another hand, Moving coil current loudspeakers are not even 100 years old. Thus, it’s beyond doubt, and as facts and truth speaks for itself per se, loudspeakers were never a part of any religion”
“As loudspeakers is not part of/or intrinsic to any of the religions as all religions are 4,000 to 500 years old whereas loudspeaker came into existence in 1924, that is less than 100 years and hence, banning them will not violate Article 25 or 26 of the Constitution of India, 1949”.
“This observation of Hon’ble Apex Court is of utmost importance as what Supreme Court says, Loudspeakers do exactly opposite of the same and hence violate fundamental rights of citizens of India,” this plea referred to the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court in Forum, Prevention of Environment and Sound Pollution which declared the Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right quoted as, “No religion ever says to force the unwilling to listen to expressions of religious beliefs.”
It also quoted an observation made by Justice DY Chandrachud in the privacy judgment that “one’s house is like a castle to him. If loudspeakers are encroaching one’s right of spatial control (one’s home), one’s right to left alone, then what’s the meaning of fundamental rights? It will be just on paper. Hence to protect and uphold the fundamental rights of one’s “left alone”, “personhood (physical and mental peace), spatial control – Loudspeakers need to go”.
The Petitioner in his PIL said that use of loudspeakers certainly takes away the right of the citizens to speak with others, their right to read or think or the right to sleep, “Every democratic country sanctifies domestic life; it is expected to give him rest, physical happiness, peace of mind and security. In the last resort, a person’s house, where he lives with his family, is his “castle”; it is his rampart against encroachment on his personal liberty”.
The Petitioner also made his point by saying that, “There may be heart patients or patients suffering from nervous disorder may be compelled to bear this serious impact of sound pollution which has had an adverse effect on them. Toddlers, kids are equally affected,”.
The matter is further listed for hearing on 29th January 2018.
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