February 11, 2019:
On Monday, the Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Sanjiv Khanna, dismisses a petition filed by West Bengal BJP challenging order of the State Pollution Control Board banning the use of loudspeakers in the residential areas and near educational institutions.
The West Bengal BJP suffered a setback after the Supreme Court rejected its petition challenging the orders over the ban on the use of loudspeakers in residential areas and educational institutions. The BJP had termed it as an attempt to muzzle its voice.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, while dismissing the Saffron Party’s challenge asked “You are challenging an order of 2013?”. He also pointed out “the children are writing their exams around this time”.
“Yes, but it is applied every year. Your Lordships had passed an order disposing of the appeal with the direction that we procure the requisite permission…”, submitted Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi.
Challenging the validity of a February 2013 order issued by the Board under Mamata government banning loudspeakers in residential areas or near educational institutions, Mr. Rohatgi has said it violates the party’s right to garner public support and is an infringement on the right to free speech.
After the SC directive the government only permitted political meetings and rallies but according to the BJP, such notification banning loudspeakers comes with the intent that the BJP doesn’t hold any rallies or meetings before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections this year.
In the petition, the saffron party had said it has passed with an ulterior motive and goes on to say that it has been designed to create an impediment in the activity of BJP, a political party which has a significant presence in the state for building up public support for the ensuing election.
BJP also said that checking noise pollution especially at the time when exams are to be held in the state appears to be within legitimate purpose however a blanket ban on the use of microphones near residential areas or educational institutions virtually results in a complete ban.