The Law of Noise Pollutioin In India

According to Section 268 of IPC:  A person is guilty of public nuisance, who does any act or guilty of an illegal omission, which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right.

        A common nuisance is not excused on the ground that it causes some convenience or advantage.

       According to Section 278 IPC: Whoever voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to  make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighborhood or passing along a public highway, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

      Church of God(Full Gospel) in India v KKR Majestic Colony Welfare Association of Ors: Facts: The respondent KKR Majestic colony made a complaint to the Tamil Nadu High Court(including pollution Control Board and various other authorities) that prayers on the Church located at KKR Nagar, Madhavaram High Road, Chennai, were recited by using loud speaker, drums and other sound producing instruments which cased noise pollution thereby disturbing and casing nui8sance(public) to the normal  life of the residents of the said colony and made a request for a direction to take appropriate measures to control large-scale pollution.

      Being convinced by the serious consequences of noise pollution,  High Court issued directions to the government for controlling the noise pollution and for the use of amplifiers and loud speakers in the city.

      The appellant Church of God (Full Gospel) moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Tamil Nadu High Court, alleging that the High Court has overlooked that the right to profess and practice Christianity is protected under Art. 25 of the  Constitution of India, which cannot be dislodged by directing the authorities to have a check on the appellant church.

      The questions involved in this appeal are that in a country having multiple religious and numerous communities or sects, whether a particular community or a sect of that community can claim right to add to noise pollution on the ground of religion.

     Whether  beating of drums or reciting of prayers by use of microphones and loud speakers’ so as to disturb the peace or tranquility of neighborhood should be permitted.

      Rejecting the appellant’s contention, the Supreme court said:”Undisputedly no religion prescribes that prayers  should  be performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be thorough voice amplifiers or beating of drums. In our view, in a civilized society, in the name of religion, activities which disturb the old or infirm persons. Students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during daytime or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted. It should not be forgotten that young babies in the neighborhood and a student prepari9ng for his exams are also entitled to enjoy their natural right of sleeping in a peaceful atmosphere. Their rights are also required to be honored.

     The court further said under the Environment [Protection]Act 1986, rules for noise pollution level are framed which prescribe permissible limits of noise in residential. Commercial, industrial areas o0f silence zone. The question is-whether the appellant can be permitted to violate the said provisions and add to the noise pollution.

      In our view to claim such a right itself would be unjustifiable.

      The right under article 25 or article 26 of the Constitution of India is subject to Public order, morality and health. As stated earlier no religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums. In any case, if there is such practice, it should not adversely affect the rights of others including that of being not disturbed in their activities.”

      Appeal dismissed.

      The Law of noise pollution is also covered under the Law of Private Nuisance.

      Private nuisance is the using or authorizing the use of one’s property or anything under one’s control, so as to affect injuriously an owner or occupier of property by physically injuring his property or by interfering materially with his health, comfort or convenience. However, in case of physical discomfort, the act complained of must having special regard to the circumstances and surroundi9ngs of the defendants’ property, be-

i)                   In excess of the natural and ordinary course of enjoyment of the property and

ii)                Materially interfering with the ordinary comfort of human existence

     The leading English case on this is: Strurges v. Bridgman: facts: A confectioner had for twenty  years used, for the purpose of his business, a pestle and mortar in his back premises which abutted on the garden of physician, and the noise and vibration were not felt to be a nuisance or complained of until 1873, when the physician erected a consulting room at the end of his garden, and then the noise and vibration owing to the increased proximity, became a nuisance to him. The question for the consideration of the court was whether the confectioner had obtained a prescriptive right to make the noise in question. It was held that he had not, inasmuch as the user was not physically capable of prevention by the owner of the servient tenement, and was  not actionable until  the date when it became by reason of the increased proximity a nuisance in law, and under these conditions, as the latter had  no power of   prevention, there was no prescription by the consent or acquiescence of the owner of the servient tenement.

     The remedies for Private nuisance are 1) Abatement 2) Damages 3) injunction

     1) Abatement: Means the removal of nuisance by the party injured without recourse to legal proceedings. The removal must be peaceable, without danger to life or limb and if necessary to enter another’s land or property, after notice to remove the same.. Nuisance by an act or commission may be abated without giving notice to the person who committed it; but not nuisance from omission except for speedy removal.

     2) Damages: The plaintiff must prove some special damage to him more than that was caused to public at large.

     3) In order to obtain an injunction it must be shown that the injury complained of as present or impending is such as by reason of its gravity or its permanent character, or both, cannot be adequately compensated in damages. The injury complained of must be either irreparable or continuous.

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