The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to submit details on whether areas in the city and State have been categorised as industrial, commercial, residential, and silence zones under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, for maintaining noise levels specified for each type of zone.
The court also directed the State to inform the procedure that would be followed on receipt of a complaint by the police through the toll-free number — 100 — about noise pollution, and steps taken for creating awareness among the public that they can make a telephone call to 100 even to lodge a complaint about noise pollution.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H.T. Narendra Prasad issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition, filed by Defence Colony Residents’ Association along with several other RWAs and individuals from the areas surrounding Indiranagar, complaining about violation of the law by pubs and inaction by the authorities.
The bench directed the government to give its response on the contention of the petitioners that the Karnataka Excise (Sale of Indian and Foreign Liquor) Rules prohibit grant of licence for sale of liquor in predominantly residential areas while directing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to submit its report after inspecting pubs, bars and restaurants operating from roof-tops allegedly in violation of the law.
Earlier, Senior Counsel K.G. Raghaven, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the inspection, led by the Police Commissioner, carried out during June 21-23 was only a ‘formality’ while claiming that pubs had ‘prior’ information about the inspection as some of them had posted an announcement on their social media pages about cancellation of the music programmes on these days citing the PIL.
Sound meters unfit, admit police
The police, in their status report, admitted to the High Court that the sound meters, procured and used to measure the sound levels in pubs at Indiaranagar, were ‘found to be unfit for calibration and certification’.
It has been stated in the report that the Police Commissioner has ordered for procuring 52 sound meters and allocated them to various police divisions. One of the newly procured sound meters was calibrated and certified by an accredited laboratory on June 24, the report stated.