On Friday, the Allahabad High Court ruled that while reciting Azaan (call for Muslims to pray) by a Muezzin from a Masjid is integral to Islam, the use of amplifying devices such as loudspeakers are not, reported Bar and Bench. The Court held that usage of such devices for ‘Islamic call to prayer’ is not protected under Article 25 (Right to Freedom of Religion) of the Indian Constitution.
The #AllahabadHighCourt on Friday allowed 'azaan' from mosques but said that the use of loudspeakers could not be permitted. The court said that 'azaan' was a part of Islam but using loudspeakers were not a part of the religion.
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Cancelling the order issued by Ghazipur district magistrate, the court added that such recitation by human voice could not be hindered under the pretext of violation of the guidelines issued by the state government to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The court made the use of loudspeaker conditional saying that one could not use a loudspeaker for azaan without prior permission of district administration in accordance with the law and norms of noise pollution.
Passing the order, the double judge bench, comprising Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Ajit Kumar said: “We are of the opinion that azaan may be an essential and integral part of Islam but its recitation through loud¬speakers or other sound-
amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of thereligion 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.”
however the bench added: “It cannot be said that a citizen should be coerced to hear anything which he does not like or which he does not require since it amounts to taking away the fundamental right of other persons.”
In the order said:
“Therefore, it is held that Azan may be an essential and integral part of Islam but the recitation of Azan through loud speakers or other sound-amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion, warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health and to other provisions of part III of the Constitution of India.”
Further, as per the state government , the Ghazipur district has been declared as hotspot area. Since azaan is a call for prayer on loudspeaker, hence it has been restricted in Ghazipur. The state government, in its affidavit, has also submitted a list of instances which have been filed disclosing how people assembled in mosques in Ghazipur following a call through azaan and administration had a tough time to control the situation.
Azaan is recited by a ‘muezzin’, a man who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of a mosque at prescribed times of the day.