The Central government is mulling taking legislative measures to exempt national functions from the ban on loudspeakers within silence zones.
Acting advocate general Rohit Deo on Wednesday informed the Bombay high court that there is a proposal to take measures to exempt national functions like the Republic Day parade or Independence Day celebrations from the ban. Although he did not elaborate on the exact nature of the legislative measure, the central government may make amendments to the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000.
Deo was responding to a plea by city NGO Wecom Trust, filed in its pending public interest litigation seeking a declaration that the ground at Shivaji Park, Dadar, was a ‘playground’ and no sporting activities could be permitted on the ground.
During the course of hearing on the plea, the counsel for the petitioner complained that although the state government has fixed a 45-day exemption from prohibitions imposed by the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000, the government itself was flouting the limit every year. He said the notification concerned provides for 10 days for the Republic Day parade, but these were already exhausted on Tuesday on rehearsals during which loudspeakers were being used at Shivaji Park.
The division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Anuja Prabhudessai, however, refused to act on the complaint noting that what was being complained of was a Republic Day parade, a national function. It was at this juncture Deo informed the bench about the proposal.
On Wednesday, Deo also submitted an affidavit by the deputy commissioner of police, Zone-V, stating that henceforth the police will not grant permission for the use of loudspeakers at the famous ground for any event and immediate steps will be taken to stop the use of loudspeakers, if any unauthorised use is made, and action will be initiated against the erring organisers under stringent provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, apart from the provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.