Friday, April 18, 2008

Supreme Court of India and Noise

Anguish that cannot be resolved

I write this at midnight - no, not exactly 12 yet, it will be in a few minutes. I remember the Supreme Court of India had spoken out on the Indian penchant for noise on special occasions, and issued orders: "... regarding use of loudspeaker, Court directed that noise level at boundary of public place, where loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10 dB(A) above ambient noise standards for area or 75 dB(A) whichever is lower – beating of drum or tom-tom or blow of trumpet or beat or sound of any instrument or use of any sound amplifier at night (between 10. 00 p.m. and 6.a.m.) except in public emergencies prohibited..." -

Silence after 10 p.m.?

It was only yesterday (Thursday April 17) that the High Court bench in Indore had drawn the attention of the Collector and the Superintendent of Police to the deplorable state of public discipline in Indore. Yet, here I am, at midnight, unable to shut the "" cacophony at probably 1000 deciBels at some wedding party close by, the police ignoring my pleas for help. I shall stay awake for another hour before the peaceful oblivion of sleep overtakes my tortured soul.

Note the Supreme Court's time limitation - 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. - if this has not been understood, and if the common man must tolerate this encroachment on his rights ... ... ?

As I come to the end of this post, a mass of drums and loud shouts have begun indicating the onset of more fun for the revellers of the night at the cost of the peace of mind of a thousand tormented people, some old, some sick, some just babies struggling to sleep through all this - and the lawkeepers ignore it all. This is what the Madhya Pradesh High Court compared to the apocryphal tale of Nero who fiddled while Rome was burning. Is anyone out there listening?

A Police Sub-Inspector told me last week: "Sir, if there is one single political leader, let alone a Minister or a bigwig, if just one leader of a political party is present at a wedding, the organisers will turn up the volume to what ever level they please, and no policeman, no, not even the SP will lift a finger!" I am now wondering if this damning comment is true after all.

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