A police circular issued on January 20 prohibits the use of microphone systems and instruments in public spaces, and permission is needed to play music and use public address systems. The circular permits the use of the microphone systems on certain conditions. For religious places, it says, “In temples, churches and mosques, the sound of the mike system/instrument should be limited in such a way that it does not go beyond the premises.”
The circular permits the use of mike systems and instruments in all private or closed places, and no permission is required to play music or sound systems in private places or closed areas such as auditoriums, community halls or conference halls, but “its sound should not go outside that place”.
Since the restrictions have been imposed by exercising powers under Section 144 of the CrPC, non-compliance is a violation under Section 188 of the IPC and is punishable by up to six months in jail.
The circular is for strict implementation of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB) December 2019 notification aiming at curbing noise pollution. The circular provides for permission to play music and use mike systems only during the day, and according to provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Prohibitions) Rules 2000, the use of mike systems/instruments may not be permitted at night – from 10pm to 6am.
The city police action comes three days before the Gujarat high court is scheduled to hear a PIL filed by advocate Kaivan Dastoor, demanding implementation of GPCB notifications and complaining about police inaction.
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