Azaan does not violate rights of other faiths under Article 25: Karnataka HC

A pair of outdoor loudspeakers used for the call to prayer hanging on a tall minaret in Kashmir. [FPK Photo/Mounis Bin Muzaffar Khan]

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has said Azaan on loudspeakers does not violate the fundamental right of people of other faiths.

Observing that Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution embodies the principle of “religious tolerance” which is a characteristic of Indian civilization, the Karnataka High Court on Monday disposed of public interest litigation alleging that the contents of Azaan (call for prayers in Islam) hurt the sentiments of believers of other faiths.

“Contention that the contents of Azan violate the fundamental right guaranteed to the petitioner as well as persons of other faith cannot be accepted,” Live law quoted the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty as saying.

The report quoting advocate Manjunath S Halawar appearing for petitioner Chandrashekar R submitted that though Azan is an ‘essential religious practice’ of Muslims, however, the words “Allahu Akbar” used in Azan (translated as Allah is the greatest) affect the religious beliefs of others.

He sought direction to the authorities to stop mosques/ masjids in the state from using the contents of the Azaan through loudspeakers

The court directed the authorities to ensure that loudspeakers and PA system and sound producing instruments and other musical instruments shall not be permitted to be used above the permissible decibel from 10 pm to 6 am.

The court referred to an order passed by a coordinate bench of the High Court on 17 June, wherein the respondent authorities were directed to carry out a drive to prevent the misuse of loudspeakers and PA system.

The bench directed that respondent shall follow the directions issued by the court and a compliance report shall be filed within eight weeks.


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