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DJ, high-decibel music systems major noise pollutants: Maharashtra government tells High Court

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court Wednesday that DJ and other high-decibel audio systems were a major source of noise pollution in the state and their use during festivals could not be allowed. Defending the ban on use of such sound systems during Ganesh and Navratri festivals, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court that the moment a DJ or Dolby system is switched on, the noise level is over 100 decibels, way above the ambient level or the maximum permissible limit under the Noise Pollution Rules-2000.

The maximum noise levels permissible under the rules for various areas range between 50 and 75 decibels during the day and between 40 and 70 decibels at night. Kumbhakoni was opposing a plea filed by the Professional Audio and Lighting Association challenging the ban. The petitioner claimed that there was no provision for a blanket ban on such systems under the 2000 Rules. It alleged that the authorities were taking action against any person found in possession of a DJ system, without measuring the actual noise level. During the previous hearing, a bench of justices Shantanu Kemkar and Sarang Kotwal had directed the state government to file an affidavit, explaining its policy that warranted such a blanket ban.

The bench had at that time refused to grant any interim relief to the petitioner. Kumbhakoni told the bench Wednesday that while there was no specific regulation to issue a blanket ban, the regulatory provisions of the rules were adequate to allow such a ban. “The rules mandate that ambient noise levels must be maintained at public places even during festivals. So, that means the use of DJ, Dolby, or any such high volume audio systems cannot be allowed,” he said. “These instruments are used for amplifying sound levels. So, if their use is not allowed then why should we permit anyone to bring such music systems out on roads or at the pandals,” Kumbhakoni said.

He also informed the bench that as per the state’s records, 75 per cent of noise rules violations across Maharashtra last year were caused due to the use of such audio systems. The bench has reserved its verdict on the plea.

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