The order is likely to come as relief to locals who have complained of loud music beyond 10pm. However, some tourist activities may be affected as many areas had late-night music in violation of rules. The state, represented by additional government advocate Prashil Arolkar, said that no permissions have been issued by deputy collectors to play music outdoors after 10pm.
“At least prima facie, any activities involving the playing of music outdoors after 10pm would be illegal and unauthorised. The authorities concerned will have to take action, in accordance with the law, to prevent such illegal activities,” the HC said.
It also directed authorities to expedite the issue of sanction and acquisition of sound level-monitoring systems, “because it is noticed that violations of the Noise Pollution Rules are at their peak during months of November, December, and January”.
Arolkar stated that the department of environment and climate change moved a proposal for acquiring sound level-monitoring systems in terms of the action plan, which will require 2-3 weeks for necessary sanctions.
The court also prima facie agreed with the petitioner’s counsel, Carlos Alvares Ferreira, who said that authorities are not taking serious action, resulting in a breach of rules. “From the advertisements, it is obvious that such events/shows are held commercially. Therefore, although the authorities are duty-bound to take action against the violators, no such actions are forthcoming,” the court stated.
Ferreira placed on record events and music shows proposed between November 30 and December 23 on the coastal belt, and the high court stated that authorities are bound to ensure that “no such music is played outdoors beyond 10pm”.
“We direct officials from the GSPCB, concerned deputy collectors, and SDPOs (police officials) to first verify whether any permissions are at all granted to the above 15 organisers to hold such shows/events outdoors and, if so, to ensure that under no circumstances they continue with such events/shows beyond 10pm,” it said.
“If no permissions are granted, such shows/events must be stopped. We clarify that the events/functions, if permitted, can continue, but under no circumstances should any sound amplifying systems be used or employed after 10pm outdoors. We further clarify that these directions are in respect of outdoors shows/events, because these restrictions will apply to playing of music or other sounds outdoors.”
The HC also asked authorities to take cognisance of similar shows, and permitted the petitioners to forward any information in writing, preferably by email, to the SPs, with copies to GSPCB officials.
“The authorities should take cognisance of such information and take strict measures to ensure that the Noise Pollution Rules are not breached by any parties/entities,” the HC stated.