Mumbai: Ban on DJ music, Dolby for Ganpati visarjan, Navratri

Mumbai: This year devotees will not be able to dance to the tunes of their favourite songs on DJ or Dolby sound systems during any festival. The Bombay High Court on Friday has put a total ban on the use of DJ and Dolby sound systems for Ganeshutsav and Navratri festivals.

A division bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Sarang Kotwal said, “The police authorities have banned the use of DJ and Dolby sound systems. All these systems have to be operated strictly in adherence with Noise Pollution Rules 2000.” “We are not willing to accept the argument that ambient noise levels in many cities have exceeded permissible limits and, therefore, DJ systems should be permitted, which cause only a marginal increase in the decibel level over the prescribed norms. When laws are in place, they must be strictly followed,” the judges said in their interim order.

The judges further held that it is not possible to grant “blanket protection” to members of Professional Audio and Lighting Association (PALA), permitting them to use DJ or sound systems without there being any specifications. “The association has miserably failed to produce on record specifications of DJ and Dolby sound systems from manufacturers to demonstrate that the said systems can be operated within the limits of permissible noise levels. In our view, we cannot grant interim relief at this stage,” the bench ruled.

The judges were hearing a petition filed by PALA challenging the blanket ban imposed on the use of DJ and Dolby sound systems during the immersion processions of Ganpati and Navratri.The association in its challenge argued that the ban violated their fundamental right of equality and right to carry out business. The bench, however, rejected the submission saying, “Just because some other persons are violating rules by creating noise pollution, the association cannot contend that they may also be permitted to violate rules. Similarly, the Constitution does provide the right to practice any profession but obviously such business should be in conformity with law.”

“There can be no dispute that the noise created by any music system cannot be allowed to cross the maximum permissible noise level so as to violate Noise Pollution Rules,” the bench said. The bench further noted that the issue involves an important question “affecting the public at large” and directed the government to file a detailed reply within four weeks, after which the matter would be heard finally. Meanwhile, the PALA has decided to challenge the interim orders before the Supreme Court.

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