Observing that it was a “frivolous” petition, the Bombay High Court dismissed a petition by a resort with cost of Rs 10,000 which sought quashing of complaint against it claiming that Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, played loud music in violation of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2002.
A Division Bench of Justices Mahesh Sonak and RN Laddha said, of the Goa bench of HC, refused to quash the complaint against Villa Calangute Resort Pvt. Ltd. observing: “The defence about “Alexa” playing the music or the guest in the resort playing the music is a novel defence and we are sure that the same will be dealt with by the Authority which has issued the show cause notice. But, atleast, prima facie, we feel that the petitioner cannot pass on the blame on its guests and even more, to Alexa.”
The court also observed that implementation of the Noise Pollution Rules cannot be frustrated by raising such prima facie frivolous defences. “If such defences are to be upheld, then, it will be very difficult for the Authorities to enforce the noise pollution rules," added the judges
The court was hearing a petition filed by the resort Villa Calangute Resort Pvt. Ltd seeking quashing of two show cause notices issued to it by the authorities for playing loud music at the night.
Counsels for the resort – Jayant Mulgaonkar and Rupa Banaulikar – argued that show cause notices are vague because no particulars of violation have been specified. It did not mention the decibel levels of noise, which allegedly went beyond the permissible limit.
Advocate General Devidas Pangam and additional government pleader Shubham Priolkar, however, pointed out to the court that the show-cause notice clearly refers to playing loud music at the venue/place, Villa Calangute Resort, on May 6 at 00:31 hrs and on June 27 at 22:33 hrs.
The court said: “Unless the petitioner (resort) places on record any permissions authorising it to play music at these hours, it cannot be said that the show-cause notices are vague or bereft of any particulars. As it is, monitoring issues of noise pollution is quite difficult.”
The court also took note of the fact that the authorities received several complaints against the resort for breaching the Noise Pollution Rules and often playing loud music at midnight.
“The issue as to whether the allegations in the show-cause notices are true or false will have to be decided by the Authority that has issued the show-cause notices based on the material before it,” added the court.
Terming the petition as “misconceived” with a “frivolous” defence, the HC dismissed the same and imposed a cost of Rs 10,000.