Ikram Mohamed PC for the petitioners.
Ms. Indika Demuni de Silva – 2nd, 3rd, 4th respondents.
Ms. B.J. Tilakaratne, Deputy Solicitor General for Central Environmental Authority.
Uditha Egalahewa for 7th respondent.
Direction issued under Article 126 (4)
SC FR 38/2005
Complaint: non issuing of loudspeaker permits under S80 Police Ordinance to the trustees of the Jumma Mosque Weligama and imposing restrictions on such use is in violation of their fundamental rights.
FoRB violation – Manifestation: worship, observance, practice, teaching; Discrimination
Per Sarath N. Silva C.J.
“A perceived convenience or advantage to some based on a religious practice cannot be the excuse for a public nuisance which causes annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity.”
(ii) That all permits issued by the Police under section 80(1) of the Police Ordinance shall cease to be effective forthwith;
(iii) That no permits shall be issued in terms of section 80(1) of the Police Ordinance for the use of loudspeakers and other instruments for the amplification of noise as specified in that section covering the period 10 p.m. (night) to 6 a.m. (morning). Such permits may be issued for special religious functions and other special events only after ascertaining the views of persons who occupy land premises in the vicinity, a record of such matters to be maintained and the grant of any such permit shall be forthwith reported to the nearest Magistrate Court;
(iv) That in respect of the hours from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. permits may be issued for limited periods of time for specific purpose subject to the strict condition that the noise emitted from such amplifier or loudspeaker or equipment does not extend beyond the precincts of the particular premises.
(v) Where a permit is issued in terms of section 80(1) as provided in direction (iii) and (iv) sufficient number of Police Officers should be designated and posted to the particular place of use to ensure that the conditions imposed are strictly complied with;
(vi) That the Police will make special arrangements to entertain any complaint of a member of the public against any person guilty of an offence of public nuisance as provided in section 261 of the Penal Code or of using any loudspeaker, amplifier or other instrument as provided in section 80 of the Police Ordinance contrary to any of these directions and take immediate steps to investigate the matter and warn such person against a continuance of such conduct. If the conduct is continued after that warning to seize and detain the equipment as provided in section 80(4) of the Police Ordinance and to report the matter to the Registrar of this Court.