IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA
The Honourable Mr. Justice P.K.Balasubramanyan
The Honourable Mr. Justice C.N.Ramachandran Nair
Tuesday the 13th day of November, 2001/22nd Karthika, 1923
C.M.P.No.55608/2001 IN O.P.No.18197/2001-N
Forum for the Prevention of Environmental and Sound Pollution
State of Kerala and others
Petition praying that in the circumstances stated in the affidavit filed along with the O.P. the High Court be pleased to clarify that what is intended by, Rule 5(2) of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2001 the term "closed premises" is a place like a Cinema hall where there is no escape of any sound and not "within the compound wall" as stated in Ext.P.5 press release.
This petition coming on for orders upon perusing the petition and the affidavit filed in support of O.P. and this courts judgment dated 4-10-2001 and upon hearing the arguments of Mr.P.B.SAHASRANAMAN, Advocate for the petitioner, Government Pleader for R1, R3 and R4 and Advocate Mr. Babu Joseph Kuruvathazha for R2 and R5, the court passed the following:
O R D E R
1. This is a petition for clarification of the expression "closed premises: occurring in the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000. According to the petitioner, he was seeking this clarification in view of the press release issued by the Government as explanatory regarding the use of loud speakers. According to the petitioner, the press release says that within the compound of an institution or the building of an institution subject to restrictions amplifiers can be used at night between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. This, according to the petitioner, is against the relevant provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
2. The Original Petition was disposed of by us by allowing the same and issuing certain directions. Subsequently, we also clarified that the directions issued by us were in addition to and not in substitution of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 as amended. Thus, the additional restrictions placed by the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 as amended will have to be obeyed by the citizens and by the State. The situation is, therefore, clear that the State cannot grant any permission against the terms of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules or against the directions of this Court in the judgment in O.P.No.9565 of 1988 as slightly modified in appeal.
3. The present press release of clarification issued by the Government says that amplifiers could be used during night between 10 at night and 6 in the morning within the compound of an institution. That must be an institution that is existing or created permanently for any religious, charitable or other purposes like cultural, educational and so on. What is meant by "closed premises" in Rule 5 of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules is a matter that has to be understood in the context of the objects to be achieved by the Rules. The Supreme Court in the decision in Church of God v. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association (2000(3) KLT 651 (SC) has clearly indicated that the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 have to be enforced and the Rules are enacted in public interest. It is also brought to our notice that subsequently, when a clarification was sought for, in its order dated 2-11-2001 the Supreme Court observed that it was evident that the prohibition with regard to use of fire works was only between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. The restrictions are placed in the context of Environmental Protection Act and Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000. The State, therefore, can obviously permit the use of amplifiers only in terms of the Rules and strictly in compliance with the same.
4. The expression "closed premises" occurring in Rule 5 of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 is illustrated by Rule 5(2) itself. The said Rule reads as follows:
"A loud speaker or a public address system shall not be used at night (between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) except in closed premises for communication within, e.g. auditoria, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls"
It is not clear whether the attention of the Government was drawn to this Rule while issuing the press release referred to in this petition. But it is clear that the press release can be understood only in the context of the above Rule and cannot be understood as varying, modifying, expanding or restricting the scope of the above Rule which on its terms appears to be clear.
In that situation, it is only necessary to clarity that any circular or press release issued by the Government can be understood only consistent with the relevant provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 as subsequently amended. With that observation this clarification petition is closed.
Sd/- [P.K.BALASUBRAMANYAN, JUDGE]
Sd/- [C.N.RAMACHANDRAN NAIR, JUDGE]