HC castigates DCP for seeking change in noise pollution law

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday castigated Deputy Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) of Bengaluru city for saying that the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules enacted in 2000 needs change instead of acting as per the rules against 12 places of worship on the complaints of illegality in use of loudspeakers.

The court directed the Commissioner of Police to look into the issue whether a senior police officer, DCP (Intelligence) K. Santosh Babu, can file an affidavit in the court stating the need for amending an existing rule when the police officers are under the statutory obligation to enforce the law.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition filed by Girish Bharadwaj on the failure of the authorities in taking action against illegal use of loudspeakers in places of worship despite guidelines issued by the apex court.

Traffic noise

Observing orally during the hearing that “this officer [DCP-Intelligence] is required to be placed under suspension for such remarks”, the Bench said that remark made by Mr. Babu in his affidavit was “shocking” as the officer states that in many places, where places of worship were found using loudspeakers, the permissible noise level had already exceeded the permissible limit due to traffic.

Mr. Babu, who is the nodal officer appointed by the CoP to comply with the orders passed by the High Court in the present petition, had filed the affidavit on action taken by the city police based on the complaints received from the KSPCB as per court’s earlier orders.

The Bench also castigated the city police for their conduct of merely asking the persons managing the places of worship (eight mosques, three temples and one church) to follow the rules on use of loudspeakers instead of initiating penal action against them as per the provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

No penal action was taken even in cases where the persons managing the places of worship accepted the illegality and they were let go without registering a criminal case, the Bench said.

The Bench wondered how the police could act in such a callous manner despite the circular, issued by the Director-General and Inspector General of Police citing judgements of the apex court and directions of the High Court in the present petition, to take action against persons who violate the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000 and prosecute them under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The court also pointed out that the police have not even made an effort to ascertain whether these 12 places of worship had secured licence to use the loudspeakers from the competent authority while directing the CoP to examine conduct of the police.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 6:27:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-castigates-dcp-for-seeking-change-in-noise-pollution-law/article34832804.ece

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