Home Sri Lankan Cases Ashik v Bandula and Others (Noise Pollution Case)

Supreme Court
Sarath N. Silva, C.J. Tilakawardane, J. Somawansa, J.
Key words
Article 3, Article 126, Article 126(4), Article 12(1) – Constitution; Section 80 - Police Ordinance; Sections 23P, 23R - National Environment Act 47 of 1980, Amended by the Act 56 of 1988; Section 26 - Penal Code.
Cases referred to
  1. Marshall v Gunaratne Unnanse 1 NLR 179
  2. Church of God (full Gospel) in India v K.K.R.M.C. Welfare Association 1AR 2000 – SC – 2773.
  3. In Re Noise Pollution AIR 205 – SC 3136


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.

Counsel who appeared
Date of Decision
Judgement by Name of Judge/s
Sarath N. Silva, C.J.
Noteworthy information relating to the case

Direction issued under Article 126 (4)

Other information

Ashik v Bandula and Others (Noise Pollution Case)

SC FR 38/2005

Facts of the case

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.

Findings related to FoRB

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.”


  1. People have been denied the equal protection of the law by the failure of the executive to establish by way of regulations an effective legal regime as mandated by S23P of the National Environmental Act 47 of 1980 (amended) to safeguard the public from harmful effects of noise pollution – No guidelines for the effective implementation of the applicable provisions of law so as to provide to the people equal protection of the law guaranteed by Art 12 (1) have been issued.
  2. The Supreme Court having considered the matters before it, issued specific directions in terms of Art 126(4) of the Constitution.(i) That the emission of noise by the use of amplifiers, loudspeakers or other equipment or appliances which causes annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity be considered a public nuisance in terms of section 261 of the Penal Code and that the Police should entertain complaints and take appropriate action for the abatement of such public nuisance; 

    (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.