TODAY -

Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur

Th Kamini Kumar Singh *



In our day to day life we are experiencing the pain of being forced spectators and to bear many unwanted disturbances due to lack of proper will to enforce the law by the authority. Of these, the indiscriminate use of the loud speakers is the most annoying and disturbing instance as if there are no remedies to stop or control it.

Will it be a Himalayan blunder to say that everyone in the State of Manipur is deaf, dumb or blind, or lays in deep slumber throughout the whole seasons? Is it not the right time to wake up from such deep slumber to hear, to speak and to see what is happening in our surroundings? Is freedom an absolute right without any reasonable restrictions? Oneís food may be anotherís poison.

Nowadays indiscriminate use of loud speaker is the most important source of noise pollution. There is an urgent need to stop or to control the indiscriminate use of a loud speaker or a public address system or any sound producing instrument or a musical instrument or a sound amplifier (here in after as loud speaker) in the State. Let us know that the indiscriminate use of loud speaker causes harms to the human beings and animals. As every sound when it is unwanted, unpleasant, or loud, is treated as a noise.

Noise creates disturbances as well as adverse human health consequences like loss of hearing and cardiovascular diseases. In animals, it affects mostly their feeding, sleeping, nesting behaviours. In short, it causes environmental pollution. It is also an important factor in breaking down law and order as well as the increase in the number of juvenile delinquents.

In common parlance, the indiscriminate use of loud speaker is treated as a malady without any remedy. This is a misconception due ignorance of the law. There are adequate legal remedies to control and regulate it by taking appropriate actions for enforcement of the laws. In a property belonging to the State like the Bheigyachandra Open Air Theatre which is not a closed premise, the State Government should take every possible steps to prohibit improper use of loud speakers at the night time.

Assuming that the State Government fails to prohibit the improper use of the loud speakers at the night time in a property belonging to the State, one may question the relevancy of enacting the law to regulate and control noise pollution. There is no total prohibition regarding the use of a loud speaker but its uses are regulated by the law. The law prohibits use of a loud speaker without obtaining written permission from the authority. The loud speaker canít be used at night time i.e. the period from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. except in closed premises for communication within, like auditoria, conference rooms, community halls, banquet halls or during a public emergency.

No authority can issue the permit to use loud speaker in open premises during the night time (10.00 p.m. to 6 a.m.) except on exempted dates. For the purpose of noise pollution, the day time and the night time are 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. respectively. On or during any cultural or religious festive occasion of a limited duration not exceeding 15 (fifteen days) in all during a calendar year (January to December), the State Government may, on such terms and conditions, permit use of a loud speaker during the night hours (between 10 p.m. to 12 midnight).

The State Government shall specify in advance the number and particulars of the day on which such exemption would be operative. The noise levels at the boundary of the public places and the private places are also specified by the law. There is a specified ambient air quality standard in respect of noise for different zones/areas i.e. industrial area, commercial area, residential area and silence zones.

In a public place where a loud speaker is used, the noise level at the boundary of a public place shall be within the prescribed limit. There is restriction on use of horns in silence zone or during night time (10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.) in residential areas except during a public emergency. The bursting of sound emitting fire crackers is prohibited in silent zones or during night time (10.00 p.m. to 6 a.m.).

In residential areas and silent zones, sound emitting construction equipments shall not be used or operated during night time. The law permits a person to complain to the authority for taking up actions against the violator for causing noise pollution. It is the responsibility of the State Government to reduce noise pollution. The law casts a duty on the State Government to take measures for abatement of noise including the noise emanating from use of loud speaker and to ensure that the existing noise levels do not exceed the ambient air quality standards specified by the law.

The District Magistrate or a Sub-Divisional Magistrate is empowered, after following due process of law, to make a conditional order requiring the person causing the nuisance to remove such nuisance. Those who are charged with the maintenance of law and order should act promptly in accordance with the law against the perpetrators of the public nuisance. The law relating to the public nuisance may also be enforced to control the indiscriminate use of the loud speakers.

The use of loud speaker in the silent zone/area is an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5(five) years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with an additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which the failure or contravention continues after the conviction of the first such failure or contravention.

It is not an exagression to say that in spite of having the law to regulate the use of a loud speaker, there is indiscriminate or improper use of loud speaker in Manipur. Whom to be blamed for violation of this law in Manipur? Is it the authority, or the common man, or the user of a loud speaker, for leading to such an eventuality in the State?

The law imposes responsibility for enforcement of noise pollution control measures and ambient air quality standards in respect of noise on the authority. It is, therefore, necessary to know who the authority is. The authority is any authority or officer authorised by the State Government in accordance with the laws and includes a district Magistrate, Police Commissioner, or any other officer not below the rank of the Deputy Superintendent of Police designated for the maintenance of the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise under any law for the time being in force.

The Manipur Pollution Control Board is under a legal duty to publish technical and statistical data relating to noise pollution and measures devised for effective prevention, control and abatement. No one is above the law. No one should encroach and disturb upon the peaceful living of the neighbours.

It is, therefore, the right time to take exemplary actions against the authority who fails to take up required actions as mandated by the law and also against the persons who violate the law to make the State free from noise pollution.


* Th Kamini Kumar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is from Nongmeibung, Imphal
This article was posted on 08 October , 2018 .


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