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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If decibel limits are reasonable, more revellers will fall in line: HC

    The Bombay high court on Tuesday said that if the cap on decibel levels was raised to a reasonable limit, it would be possible for more people to adhere to the revised ones. The court was hearing a petition filed by a Mulund-based Navratri mandal seeking permission to organize a dandiya event in a silence zone. 

    On Saturday, the court had granted the mandal permission subject to certain conditions. On Tuesday, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar was informed by Awaaz Foundation that the Navyuvak Mitra Mandal had violated the permissible 50 dB sound limit and had not used a distributed sound system. The mandal also played music beyond the 10pm deadline. Awaaz's advocate Ishwar Nankani said the sound level recorded was 95-97 decibels. 
    This prompted the court to ask Awaaz Foundation's convener Sumaira Abdulali about the effectiveness of distributed sound systems with low voltage speakers and sound barriers. Abdulali informed the court that these were effec
tive in lowering decibel levels. 
    The mandal's advocate, M S Karnik, said the government had allowed all mandals to play music till 12am on the eight and ninth day of Navratri. "The mandal has been organizing the event at this location for the past 15 years. 
It was only this year, and that too on the first day of Navratri, that we were told the area is a silence zone," said Karnik. 
    Turning to the police department and the BMC, Justice Shah said, "Why are you always giving permissions at 
the last minute? Now we'll set out a timetable for people to apply for permissions and for you to consider their applications. The groups that get permission would then know they have to make preparations." The court directed that the police and civic body should accept applications 45-60 days in advance and should decide whether to permit or reject them at least 30 days before the festival. 
    "How will people celebrate festivals? Everybody does not go to 5-star hotels to celebrate and dance," said Justice Shah.


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