The Allahabad High Court on Friday directed Uttar Pradesh government not to cause any hindrance in the recitation of azaan or the Islamic call to ritual prayer by a muezzin from minarets of the mosques by human voice, amid the lockdown.
However, the court has made strict observation against the use of any amplifying device or loudspeakers for the same.
After hearing the public interest litigation, the court held that azaan may be an essential and integral part of Islam but the recitation of azaan through loudspeakers or other sound-amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion.
The PIL was filed before the High Court against Ghazipur district administration orders restricting recital of azaan during the lockdown and the petitioners had sought permission to recite azaan through Muezzin by using sound-amplifying devices.
“Azaan is an essential and integral part of Islam but the use of microphone and loud-speakers cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion. Azaan can be recited by Muezzin from minarets of the Mosques by human voice without using any amplifying device and such recitation cannot be hindered with under the pretext of violation of the guidelines issued by the state, to contain the pandemic COVID-19,” said the bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Ajit Kumar.
The petition was filed by Afzal Ansari, BSP MP from Ghazipur with a prayer that fundamental right to religion of the people in the district may be protected and the state administration may be directed to permit the recitation of azan by only one person ‘Muezzin’ from the respective mosques of the district since it does not violate any of the directives issued for controlling the threat of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.