Decibel levels across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are set to go south with the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordering a ban on use of loudspeakers or public address systems in private or public places including community halls, banquet halls, temples, mosques and gurudwaras if there’s no written permission from the authorities. And even this permission cannot be granted 15 days before or during annual examinations.
There’s also a ban on celebratory firing and live show songs glorifying liquor, drugs and violence. Directing police chiefs to ensure compliance, the High Court has underlined that “glorification of violence has given rise to culture of gangsters in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh”.
The only exception made on the use of loudspeakers and public address systems is between 10 pm and 12 midnight during a cultural or religious festive occasion of a limited duration not exceeding 15 days in all during a calendar year.
Moving to curb noise pollution on a clutch of petitions seeking enforcement of regulations on noise pollution and ban on songs promoting “vulgarity” and gun culture, the division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sidhu, in a judgment released Thursday, issued detailed guidelines to the two states and the Chandigarh administration.
Authorities have been instructed to keep visiting and monitoring public places, private places, auditoriums, conference rooms, community halls, banquet halls, temples, mosques and gurudwaras. District Magistrates, Senior Superintendents of Police and Superintendents of Police of each district have been made personally responsible for compliance.
“The peripheral noise level of a privately owned sound system or a sound producing instrument shall not, at the boundary of the private place, exceed by more than 5dB (A),” the order said. It said persons or bodies seeking permission for use of loudspeakers or public address systems will have to give an undertaking that “the noise level shall not exceed more than 10dB(A) peripheral noise level”.
SSPs and DSPs have also been directed to ensure that motorcycles are fitted with silencers. “Pressure horns are banned throughout the States of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh. The violators of the Rules be penalized under Rule 6 of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000,” the order stated.