Muslims do not have a fundamental right to use a loudspeaker from a mosque, the Allahabad High Court has ruled. The court made the observation while dismissing a petition filed by a petitioner from Budaun who wanted permission to play a loudspeaker from a mosque during azan, the Islamic call for prayer, at a village in the district. The petition had been filed long before the Yogi Adityanath government passed strong strictures against the indiscriminate use of loudspeakers, especially at places of worship.
The court said the petition was “patently misconceived”.
A division bench of Justice Vivek Kumar Birla and Justice Vikas passed the order on Wednesday saying, “The law says that it is not a constitutional right to use loudspeakers in mosques.”
“The law has now been settled that use of a loudspeaker from a mosque is not a fundamental right. Even otherwise, a cogent reason has been assigned in the impugned order,” said the division bench on 4 May.
Irfan of District Budaun had filed a petition praying that the court quash the rejection order dated 3 December 2021, by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Bisauli tehsil, through which he was denied permission to use a loudspeaker/mike from Noori Masjid at the time of azan.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the SDM’s order was wholly illegal and violated the fundamental and legal rights of the petitioner to run a loudspeaker from the mosque.
The controversy over the use of loudspeakers at religious places sparked across several states, including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
Recently, in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the sound from loudspeakers at religious places should not be heard outside the premises.
Chief Minister Yogi said loudspeakers could be used at religious places with permission, but the sound must not come out of the premises. He said further that no new permits will be issued for loudspeakers.
Following the chief minister’s statement, the volume of loudspeakers at 17,000 religious sites in the state was lowered to the standards set for all the religious places, including the temples and mosques in the state.
In Maharashtra, while a politician couple was jailed when they said they would chant the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Uddhav Thackeray’s house Matoshree, the chief minister’s cousin and head of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Raj Thackeray had announced he would play the Hindu prayer near mosques if Muslims did not stop blaring azan from loudspeakers. But Raj Thackeray called off his ‘movement’ on Eid, saying he did not want any confrontation.