(1.)In this writ application, the petitioner, a religious organisation, claims that the respondents should not interfere with the right of user of microphones, loud-speakers, and for amplifying human voice and for amplifying other sounds while playing daily pujas and other religious activities and display of religious songs. The petitioner prayed for a writ in the nature of Mandamus commanding the District Magistrate and/or the Sub-Divisional Officer, Ghatal, to accord necessary permission in favour of the said society in terms of section 34A of the Police Act, 1963, (West Bengal Amendment).
(2.)The point raised in this writ application is of great public importance and significance. Section 34A of the Police Act, 1861, as amended by the West Bengal Act 38 of 1963, reads as follows:
"34A. Power to prohibit, restrict, regulate or impose conditions on the use of microphones, etc., (1) If, in the opinion of the Magistrate of the district or any Sub-Divisional Magistrate or Magistrate of the first class, it is necessary so to do for the purpose of preventing annoyance to, or injury to the health of, the public or any section thereof, or for the purpose of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, he may, by order, prohibit, restrict, regulate or impose conditions on, the use or operation, in any area with his jurisdiction or in any vehicle within such area of microphones, loud-speakers or other apparatus for amplifying human voice or for amplifying music or other sounds.
(2) The State Government may, on its own motion or on the representation of any person or persons aggrieved, modify, alter or cancel any order made under sub-section(1).
(3) A police officer, not below the rank of Sub-Inspector, may take such steps or use such force as may be reasonably necessary for securing compliance with any order made under sub-section (1) or any such order as modified or offered by the State Government under sub-section (2) and may seize any microphone, loud-speaker or other apparatus used or operated in contravention of the order."
(3.)It is the case of the petitioner that microphones are required by the society during puja performance, arati, nitya puja, etc., and that nobody ever raised any objection to the performance of the aforesaid religious activities in the manner and in the way as had been done, but the Sub-Divisional Officer. Ghatal, directed the petitioner/society not to use any microphone while performing puja and other religious activities without serving any notice in the month of September, 1993.