In a recent development, the Gujarat High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on the use of loudspeakers in mosques for the call to prayer, known as Azaan. Chief Justice Sunita Aggarwal deemed the PIL “wholly misconceived” and questioned the petitioner’s claims of disturbance due to noise pollution.
The petitioner argued for a ban on loudspeakers during various times of the day for the Islamic call to prayer. Chief Justice Aggarwal challenged the petitioner to provide evidence of alleged noise pollution caused by Azaan, including details on decibel levels.
The Chief Justice emphasized that noise pollution is a scientific issue and questioned the petitioner’s failure to make a scientific assessment of the noise pollution during prayer offerings. The court expressed skepticism about the petitioner’s argument and noted the absence of a foundation for demonstrating that Azaan, delivered through loudspeakers, would cause noise pollution.
The Chief Justice stated, “Your DJ creates a lot of pollution. We are not considering such PILs. It is a longstanding faith and practice, lasting only 5-10 minutes. Azaan takes less than 10 minutes.”
The counsel for the petitioner sought to reinforce their case, contending that Azaan occurred during the day and early morning. However, the Chief Justice dismissed this argument, pointing out that even in temples, “the morning aarti with drums and music starts early in the morning.”
The Chief Justice further highlighted that the plea lacked substantiation based on the material in the record. In a notable moment during the proceedings, the petitioner’s reference to a judgment from the Allahabad High Court was promptly dismissed, with the Chief Justice clarifying that such judgments are not legally binding in their jurisdiction.