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Karnataka High Court questions State government over-issuance of permanent license: Mosque Loudspeaker Row

A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Ashok S Kinagi while hearing the case of Rakesh P v. the State of Karnataka orally asked the state government under what provisions did it issue permanent licenses to a total of 16 mosques in question.

In its previous order dated 16th November 2021, the bench while referring to Rule 5(3) of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 which directs the government to permit the use of loudspeakers or public address systems and the like during night hours (between 10.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight) on or during any cultural, religious or festive occasion of a limited duration not exceeding fifteen days in all during a calendar year, said “We are not against any individual or anybody. It is your discretion to whom to grant or not grant permission, but it should be in accordance with law.”

The bench asked the petitioners to produce some evidentiary material record as Advocate Shridhar Prabhu on behalf of the petitioner Rakesh P and others stated, “There is a new trend that they (state authorities) are issuing permanent licenses for use of loudspeakers. Moreover, the loudspeakers are not seized as per the Central Pollution Control Board directions nor fines are imposed.”

The government counsel on behalf of respondents (mosques) filed a status report to the court informing that the mosques which played loudspeakers without license have discontinued playing and discarded the speakers.

The court was adjourned to next week as the respondent sought time to prepare a response to the argument held by the petitioners.

Case: Rakesh P. v State of Karnataka

Case No.: Writ Petition No. 4574/2021

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