The division bench of the Allahabad High Court presided by Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vipin Chandra Dixit, in a writ filed by Masroor Ahmad And Another stated that, “No religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums and if there is such practice, it should not adversely affect the rights of the others including that of not being disturbed.”

In the present case, the petitioners who are Muslims by religion have preferred this petition for the quashing of the order passed by the sub-divisional Magistrate, Shahganj, Jaunpur rejecting the application to grant permission/renewal of License to use amplifiers and loudspeakers on religious places stating that use of such sound equipments is likely to cause noise pollution and would create an animosity between the two religious groups of the village i.e Hindus and Muslims which will result in a law and order situation. The contention of the petitioner was that the use of amplifiers and loudspeakers on the mosques for 2 minutes 5 times a day would neither cause noise pollution nor would disturb the peace of the area. Also, they stated that it is an essential part of their religious practice.

On the above contention the Allahabad High Court stated that, “It is true that one can practice, profess and propagate religion as guaranteed under Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of India but the said right is not an absolute right. The right under Article 25 is a subject to the wider Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution and thus both of them have to be read together and construed harmoniously.” The High Court has referred to various judgements regarding the abovementioned issue. In the case of Sant Kumar and others, it was held that right to practice one’s religion freely is a fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India but the said right of religion and right to privacy which is also a fundamental right has to be read together and nobody has a right to practice religion in a way so as to invade privacy of others.”  Also, this court has highlighted the bad effects of noise pollution by stating that, “It is universally acceptable today that noise adversely affects human health. It causes hearing loss or deafness, high blood pressure, depression, fatigue and even annoyance. Excessive noise has resulted in cardiac ailments, neurosis and nerves breakdown.” Therefore, after analysing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court was of the opinion that the present matter does not require their interference and has dismiss the writ petition.

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Link to judgment: Masroor Ahmad v. State of UP