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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Azaan vs Hanuman Chalisa row: Karnataka govt gives 15-day deadline to regularise loudspeakers

After a meeting between Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and several top officials, Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar issued a note to Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar, terming the Forest, Ecology and Environment Department as the ‘designated authority’ to give the requisite permission.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 11, 2022 7:42:20 am
A senior police officer said as the campaign against the use of loudspeakers in mosques was growing, Bommai asked officials to take stock of the situation. (Representational)

A day after Hindu right-wing groups in Karnataka, like Sri Rama Sene, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi, launched the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ campaign purportedly to counter the relaying of Azaan from mosques using loudspeakers, the state government Tuesday gave a 15-day deadline to groups and institutions to apply for permission to play loudspeakers within permissible limits or have them removed.

After a meeting between Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and several top officials, Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar issued a note to Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar, terming the Forest, Ecology and Environment Department as the ‘designated authority’ to give the requisite permission.

A senior police officer said as the campaign against the use of loudspeakers in mosques was growing, Bommai asked officials to take stock of the situation.

“All users of loudspeakers or public address systems shall obtain written permission from the designated authority within 15 days. Those who don’t obtain, should voluntarily remove (the loudspeakers) or (they) should be removed by the designated authority,” Kumar said in his note.

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Citing the Supreme Court ruling dated July 18, 2005, and October 28, 2005, regarding the implementation of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the chief secretary said loudspeakers or the public address system should not be used without obtaining permission from the designated authority. “Rule 5(2) of the NPRC Rules bars the use of a loudspeaker or public address system or any sound producing instrument at night time except in closed premises, subject to other conditions,” the note said. He also directed that committees should be formed to decide the applications for use of loudspeaker or public address system.

In police commissionerate areas, the committee will comprise assistant commissioner of police, jurisdictional executive engineer of the city corporation and a representative of the state pollution control board.

In other areas, the committee shall consist of deputy superintendents of police, the jurisdictional tehsildar and a representative of the state pollution control board.

“This is applicable to all premises which are using loudspeakers and public address systems. Necessary government orders or directions shall be issued to all concerned to implement this with IMMEDIATE effect,” the note read.

Minister of Tourism, Ecology and Environment Anand Singh said, “As per the Supreme Court order, we have bought machines (noise-level meter) and have given them to police officers. We have also trained them. If there are any complaints, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials will coordinate with police officers to take action.”

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