If Lokmanya Tilak was alive, he’d have opposed noisy festivals: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court on Friday said it’s time that festivals like Ganpati and Navratri and others are toned down as they cause a lot of noise pollution.


A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, while hearing two different public interest litigations, observed: “If Lokmanya Tilak was there now, he would have been the first person to oppose these things.”

While hearing a plea filed by Iskcon foundation seeking permission to hold its Jagannath Puri Yatra at Shivaji Park, which is a silence zone, said: “Personally, in principle, we are against these public yatras on roads. The Ganpati, Navratri and other festivals have grown so much that open spaces are lost, pandals/mandaps are built on public roads. Ganesh mandals, even during immersion, play so loud music, leading to noise pollution.”

Giving a last chance to the state government to file its reply on the action taken by it on loud speakers put up in religious institutions in silence zones and near schools, the bench said: “We are not like our neighbouring country; India allows everyone to profess their own religion, but it should always be that the rule of law prevails.”

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Navi Mumbai resident Santosh Pachalag. Pachalag petitioned against “illegal use of loudspeakers” by mosques in his area. An RTI plea had found that 45 of 49 mosques in the area didn’t have permission to use loudspeakers.

Acting on the petition, the Bombay High Court directed the police last week to remove “illegal” loudspeakers from mosques.