Amid the azan versus Hanuman Chalisa row, the Karnataka government on Tuesday, 10 May, issued fresh guidelines over the use of loudspeakers in the state and said that those loudspeakers that were not sanctioned by the "designated authority" would be removed.
The notice was issued by state Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar to Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar following a meeting with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday, reported PTI.
The chief secretary said in the notice that those who wished to use loudspeakers must obtain written permission from the "designated authority" within 15 days.
"Those, who don't obtain, should voluntarily remove or should be removed by the designated authority."
As per the guidelines, loudspeakers can't be used between 10 pm and 6 am and permission pertaining to the decibel levels of the speakers also has to be taken.
Rule Applicable to All Religious Institutions
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, in a statement later in the day, said that action will be taken against those violating the rules.
"After 15 days, action will be taken as per the law if at all the permission has not been taken by any of the loudspeakers using authority on any premises. We will remove the loudspeakers and case will be filed against such people," he said, news agency ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Environment and Ecology minister Anand Singh stated, "Appropriate action will be taken against all those found violating decibel standards while using loudspeakers. Special teams will conduct surprise visits at sites where loudspeakers are installed to check violation."
The minister further said that the rule would be applicable to temples, mosques, churches and marriage ceremonies. "If any local resident lodges a complaint, action will be taken against them."
Committee To Regulate Volume
Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar had also directed that a committee be formed at different levels to regulate the use of loudspeakers or a public address system in the state.
The note said, "This is applicable to all premises that are using loudspeakers and public address system. Necessary government orders or directions shall be issued to all concerned to implement this with IMMEDIATE effect."
The circular, which was issued by the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment, cited the permissible decibel levels for residential areas as per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
In police commissionerate areas, the committee would include the assistant commissioner of police, jurisdictional executive engineer of the city's corporation, and a member of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), as per The News Minute.
Committees in all other areas will include deputy superintendents of police, the jurisdictional tehsildar, and a member of the SPCB.
The development comes after some right-wing groups, including Sriram Sena, Bajrang Dal, and Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi, organised a pre-dawn bhajan-keertan on Monday to counter the azan from mosques.
(With inputs from PTI and The News Minute.)