A circular issued by the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf has prohibited the use of loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am during azaan for all the mosques and dargahs in the state.
The Board has also made it clear that there will be no ban on azaan, adding that the decision to bar loudspeakers during the specified time was taken to prevent noise pollution. The circular states, “It is observed that increasing ambient noise level around many masjids and dargahs due to generator sets, loudspeakers and public address systems have deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of the people.
With the objective of maintaining the ambient standards of noise, The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 are in force. Loudspeakers shall not be used in the night time which shall mean from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.” Further underlining the “silence zones”, the circular said any violation will be liable for a penalty. “The area comprising not less than 100 meters around hospitals, educational institutions and courts have been declared as ‘silence zones’.
Whoever uses any sound amplifier, or burst sound-emitting firecrackers, uses a loudspeaker or public address system in the silence zone is liable for penalty under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,” it said.
The Board issued the following set of instructions to all the managements of masjids and dargahs for the strictest compliance:
1. Loudspeakers shall not be used from 10 pm onwards up to 6 am
2. Loudspeakers used during the day shall be as per the ambient air quality standards, with respect to noise
3. Loudspeakers shall be used only for azaan and important announcements such as death, the timing of burial, the sighting of the moon etc.
4. Congregational Salat, Juma Qutba, Bayans, religious, socio-cultural and knowledge-based-functions shall be held with speakers installed in the religious premises
5. Noise-governing apparatus may be installed in the institution in consultation with the local environment officers
6. The management of the institutions shall train the muezzin (the person who gives the call to prayer at a mosque) to operate the amplifier within the prescribed limit
7. No sound-emitting firecrackers shall be burnt in or around the masjid and dargahs at any occasion
8. The incidence or carrying on in or upon, any premises of any trade, avocation or operation or process resulting in or attended with noise
9. Open spaces of the masjid and dargahs shall be used for the plantation of fruit-bearing shady trees and ornamental plants. Drinking water tanks may be constructed for animals and birds if possible
10. Clean and hygienic atmosphere shall be maintained
11. Discourage beggary in religious premises, instead, counselling and philanthropic measures may be taken at the institution level.