The Mumbai police commissioner’s office does not know about the relaxation in noise pollution rules at night that are allowed for 15 days in a year, indicates the response to a right-to-information (RTI) query filed by a citizens’ group recently. This revelation comes after a RTI application showed that two police stations in Andheri had no idea about the relaxation in rules.
While the use of loudspeakers or a public address system is banned from 10pm to 6am, the government can extend the time limit up to 12am (midnight) for 15 days in a year, according to the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules
Watchdog Foundation’s RTI query, filed with the Mumbai police commissioner’s office, asked about noise pollution rules, including the relaxed time limit for the use of loudspeakers, drums and public address systems. They received a reply indicating that the office of the Mumbai police commissioner was unaware about any such relaxation of rules. “As per police commissioner’s office, there are no specific orders/circulars/instructions as regards to relaxation of noise pollution restriction norms in a year announced by Mumbai police for various festivals,” read the response from the commissioner’s office.
Environmental activists have pointed out that no offenders would be penalised for noise pollution problems if the regulatory authority does not know the rules. “The authorities who are required to take action in such cases should know what the law of the land is. It is a serious problem if there is no deterrence and the state pollution control board needs to look into the matter,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation.
Pimenta added that for anyone to use loudspeakers or public address systems beyond 10pm during the 15 days, they need to take prior permission from the police. “If the police do not know the rules then the law can be misused easily,” he said.
HT had reported on May 12 that after a similar RTI reply by Andheri and MIDC police stations revealed that they had no clue about the relaxation of noise norms, officials from the Mumbai police had told HT that constables and police inspectors from all stations across the city would be sensitised about necessary action against noise pollution complaints over the next two months
Attempts to reach the commissioner, Mumbai police and spokesperson for a comment were unsuccessful.