Indian court: Loudspeakers in mosques not fundamental right

The court made the observation in response to a petition by a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Dhornapur village

The use of loudspeakers in mosques is not a fundamental right, a division bench of the Allahabad High Court said, Live Law reported on Thursday.

The court made the observation in response to a petition by a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Dhornapur village, Irfan, who sought permission to use a loudspeaker for the Azan, or the Muslim call for prayer. He had challenged an order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the Bisauli tehsil, which had not permitted the use a sound amplifier for the Azan

Irfan had contended that the sub-divisional magistrate’s order violated his fundamental and legal rights, according to The Hindu.

A bench comprising Justices Vivek Kumar Birla and Vikas Budhwar, however, said that the petition was patently misconceived. “The law has now been settled that use of a loudspeaker from a mosque is not a fundamental right,” the High Court said on May 4. “Even otherwise, a cogent reason has been assigned in the impugned order.”

In May 2020, the High Court had observed that the Azan is integral to Islam, but not the use of loudspeakers. The court had allowed muezzins or persons who give calls to prayer, to recite the Azan amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. However, it had not permitted the use of loudspeakers.

In April, the Uttar Pradesh Police carried out a drive to remove unauthorised loudspeakers from places of worship and to ensure that authorised ones operate within the sound limit. A total of 10,923 unauthorised loudspeakers were removed during this drive, PTI reported on April 27.

Ruled by Hindu hardliner Yogi Adityanath, who bagged a second term as the chief minister with the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket earlier this year, Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state.