Azaan or the Islamic call to ritual prayer can be recited by a muezzin of the mosques by human voice instead of using the loudspeakers, said the Allahabad High Court.
However, the court said that such recitations if made by a human voice, cannot come under the pretext of violation of the norms provided by the state government to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The court further said that anyone cannot use the loudspeakers for making Azaan without prior permission of the district administration as per the law.
The bench decreed that they agree with Azaan as an essential part of Islam, but its recitation done via loudspeakers is not an integral part of the religion warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health and to other provisions in part III of the Constitution.
The bench added that a citizen cannot be forced to hear something which he does not like or which is not required of him. It further said that doing so will be taking fundamental rights of that citizen.
The bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Ajit Kumar thus disposed of a PIL filed by BSP MP from Ghazipur, Afzal Ansari, seeking lifting of the ban on Azaan from mosques in Ghazipur.
The petitioner’s plea was that there is no specific order in the central or state government guidelines to prohibit the recitation of Azaan from the mosques. Therefore, the dictatorial judgment taken to stop the prayer by the district administration of Ghazipur is not legal.
As per the state government, there have been instances in Ghazipur where a group of people summoned for prayers in mosques upon the call of Azaaan. Ghazipur district is a hotspot area and since Azaan is a call of prayer on a loudspeaker, hence it has been restrained in Ghazipur stated the state government.
However, like Azaan made via loudspeakers can be violating to people who do not like to hear it or do not need it, there are other religious preachings like bhajans, done via loudspeakers, can be like snatching fundamental rights to some. Moreover, the main motto behind limiting the use of loudspeakers is to stop voices which can be noise pollution to others which should be effective without any religious biases. If the motto behind curbing the loudspeakers for Azaan is just to stop people from violating the lockdown and assembling in mosques like in Ghazipur, then people should understand that they should not break the lockdown or else they are letting the virus to spread more. And, if a sector of people is breaking the lockdown and gathering in a temple for religious preaching then that preaching should be banned too, as per the motto.