The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Union of India on public interest litigation 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 recognized fundamental right to privacy.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal issued the notice on the PIL filed by social activist Sanjiv Kumar.

Loudspeakers not intrinsic to any religion

Sanjiv, in his PIL, traced the advent of all religions in India to say, “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 1,400 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/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,” he said.

The petition also quoted from the Supreme Court’s verdict in Forum, Prevention of Envn. and Sound Pollution as: “No religion ever says to force the unwilling to listen to expressions of religious beliefs.”

“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,” the PIL said.
Man’s house is his castle, loudspeakers breach right to be left alone.

The petitioner relied heavily on the privacy judgment of the Supreme Court to say that its use is a breach of privacy.
“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,” it said.

It 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 said that the 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.

“There may be heart patients or patients suffering from the 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,” he added..!

- Abhijeet Rane-
(Reproduced in public interest by Vast media )

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