Have you ever been inconvenienced by a party or festival celebration in your neighbourhood where music was being played till late at night? Have you been annoyed by incessant honking on roads? Have you suffered from construction noises?
With an ever increasing number of motor vehicles, constructions and music at functions, noise pollution has become a part of daily life in India. Noise pollution means annoying levels of noise that have a harmful impact. It can cause lasting psychological and physiological damage.
We tend to think that the noise pollution around us is out of our hands but this is not true. Noise pollution is a public nuisance and thus a civil wrong. The law provides several suitable remedies for the same.
Here is what you can do to address such situations-
- The first step you should take is calling the police. Give them coherent details about the problem. Tell them how the noise is causing annoyance, the time since it has been going on and the address. You may do so anonymously.
- A complaint can also be filed with the Pollution Control Board, as noise pollution has been classified as an air pollutant.
Here are some steps you can take further –
- Noise pollution is a public nuisance and is a civil wrong. Section 91 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) says that you can initiate a civil suit for the offense of Public nuisance. Under this section, a member of the community who is being inconvenienced can initiate a suit for appropriate relief, eg.- an injunction. This means that one can have their rights declared and as a consequence, be granted an injunction. The injunction would order the person at whom it is directed to do or stop doing a certain thing, in this case, the nuisance.
- As the above section also says that you can seek simultaneous relief under the criminal jurisdiction, through Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Under this section, the magistrate is allowed to stop the situation that is causing the nuisance. This means that the Magistrate can order the nuisance-causing activity to cease.
- You can also file a Public Interest Litigation if the situation requires. Article 32 of the Indian Constitution speaks of this tool which directly connects the public with the judiciary. Through a PIL, a member of the public is given the right to file a suit. This is judicial activism. The member of public filing the PIL may be an individual, an institution or a nongovernmental organization. A PIL can be filed in any High Court or directly in the Supreme Court. Under Section 133 of CrPC, a PIL may be filed in front of a magistrate as well.