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Noise Laws in India





Noise laws in India are stringent and designed to protect the populace from unwanted noise from industrial and residential activities. This document provides an overview of some key definitions and summarises the laws and how they are applied.


Zoning Definitions


A= Industrial Area

B= Commercial Area

C= Residential Area

D= Silence Zone


1= Day time shall mean from 6:00AM to 10:00PM

2= Night time shall mean from 10:00PM to 6:00AM

3= Silence zone is an area comprising not less than 100 metres around other area which is declared as such by the competent authority

4= Mixed categories of areas may be declared as one of the four above mentioned categories by the competent authority



Area Code


Category of Area/Zone

Limits in dB(A) Leq *

Day Time



Industrial area




Commercial area




Residential area




Silence Zone







dB(A) Leq denotes the time weighted average of the level of sound in decibels on scale A which is relatable to human hearing


A "decibel" is a unit in which noise is measured


"A", in dB(A)Leq,denotes the frequency weighting in the measurement of noise and corresponds to frequency response characteristics of the human ear.


*Leq: it is an energy mean of the noise level over a specified period.


These rules may be called the 'Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules,2000.


They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.




"Act" means the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986)


"Area/Zone" means all areas which fall in either of the four categories given in the Schedule annexed to these rules.


"Authority" means and includes any authority or officer authorised by the Central Government, or as the case may be, the State Government in accordance with the laws in force and includes a District Magistrate, Police Commissioner, or any other officer not below the rank of the Deputy Superintendent of Police designated for the maintenance of the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise under any law for the time being in force.


"Court" means a governmental body consisting of one or more judges who sit to adjudicate disputes and administer justice and includes any court of law presided over by a judge, judges or a magistrate and acting as a tribunal in civil, taxation and criminal cases.


"Educational Institution" means a school, seminary, college, university ,professional academies, training institutes or other educational establishment, not necessarily a chartered institution and includes not only buildings, but also all grounds necessary for the accomplishment of the full scope of educational instruction, including those things essential to mental, moral and physical development.


"Hospital" means an institution for the reception and care of sick, wounded, infirm or aged persons, and includes government or private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.


"Person" shall include any company or association or body of individuals whether incorporated or not.


"Public place" means any place to which the public have access, whether as of right or not, and includes auditorium, hotels, public waiting rooms, convention centres, public offices, shopping malls, cinema halls, educational institutions, libraries, open grounds and the like which are visited by general public.


"Night-time" means the period between 10:00p.m. and 6:00a.m.


Ambient air quality standards


Ambient air quality standards in respect of noise for different areas/zone


  • The ambient air quality standards in respect of noise for different areas/zones shall be such as specified in the Schedule annexed to these rules.


  • The State Government shall categorise the areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence areas/zones for the purpose of implementation of noise standards for different areas.


  • The State Government shall take measures for abatement of noise including noise emanating from vehicular movements, blowing of horns, address system and sound producing instruments and ensure that the existing noise levels do not exceed the ambient air quality standards specified under these rules.


  • All development authorities, local bodies and other concerned authorities while planning developmental activity or carrying out functions relating to town and country planning shall take into consideration of noise pollution as a parameter of quality of life to avoid noise menace and to achieve the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise.


  • An area comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts may be declared as silence area/zone for the purpose of these rules.



Responsibility as to enforcement of noise pollution control measures


Responsibility as to enforcement of noise pollution control measures:


  • The noise levels in any area/zone shall not exceed the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise as specified in the Schedule.


  • The authority shall be responsible for the enforcement of noise pollution control measures and the due compliance of the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise.


  • The respective State Pollution Control Boards or Pollution Control Committees in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board shall collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to noise pollution and measures devised for its effective prevention, control and abatement.


Restrictions on the use of loud speakers/public address system and sound producing instruments


  • A loud speaker or a public-address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from the authority.


  • A loud speaker or public-address system or any sound producing instrument or a musical instrument or a sound amplifier shall not be used at night time except in closed premises for communication within, like auditoria, conference rooms, community halls, banquets halls or during a public emergency.


  • Not with standing anything contained in sub-rule (2),the State Government may subject to such terms and conditions as are necessary to reduce noise pollution, permit use of loud speakers or public-address system and the like during night hours (between 10:00PM to 12:00 midnight) on or during any cultural or religious festive occasion of a limited duration not exceeding fifteen days in all during a calendar year. The concerned State Government shall generally specify in advance, the number and particulars of the days on which such exemption would be operative.


  • The noise level at the boundary of the public place, where loudspeaker or public-address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10dB(A) above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75dB (Industrial area) whichever is lower.


  • The peripheral noise level of a privately-owned sound system or a sound producing instrument shall not, at the boundary of the private place, exceed by more than 5dB(A)the ambient noise standards specified for the area in which it is used.


Restrictions on the use of horns, sound emitting construction equipments and bursting of fire crackers


  • No horn shall be used in silence zones, or during night-time in residential areas except during a public emergency.


  • Sound emitting firecrackers shall not be burst in silence zones or during night-time.


  • Sound emitting construction equipments shall not be used or operated during night-time in residential areas and silence zones.



Consequences of any violation in silence zone/area


Whoever in any place covered under the silence zone/area commits any of the following offence, he shall be liable for penalty under the provisions of the Act.


i.               Whoever plays any music or uses any sound amplifiers.

ii.              Whoever beats a drum or tom-tom or blows a horn either musical or pressure, or trumpet or beats or sounds any instrument.

iii.             Whoever exhibits any mimetic, musical or other performances of a nature to attract crowds.

iv.             Whoever bursts sound emitting firecrackers.

v.              Whoever uses a loudspeaker or a public-address system.


Complaints to be made to the authority


A person may, if the noise level exceeds the ambient noise standards by 10dB(A) or more given in the corresponding columns against any area/zone or, if there is a violation of any provision of these rules restrictions imposed during night time, make a complaint to the authority.


The authority shall act on the complaint and take action against the violator in the accordance with the provisions of these rules and any other law in force.


Power to prohibit etc. continuance of music sound or noise


If the authority is satisfied from the report of an officer in-charge of a police station or other information received by him including from the complainant that it is necessary to do so in order to prevent annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury or risk, annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury to the public or to any person who dwell or occupy property on the vicinity, he may, by a written order issue such directions as he may consider necessary to any person for preventing, prohibiting, controlling or regulating.


a. The incidence or continuance in or upon any premises of

i. Any vocals or instrumental music

ii. Sounds caused by playing, beating, clashing, blowing or use in any manner whatsoever of any instrument including loudspeakers, public-address systems, horns, construction equipment, appliance or apparatus or contrivance which is capable of producing or re-producing sound or

iii. Sound caused by bursting of sound emitting fire rackers, or


b. The carrying on in or upon, any premises of any trade, avocation or operation or process resulting in or attended with noise


The authority empowered under sub-rule (1) may, either on its own motion, or on the application of any person aggrieved by an order made under sub-rule (1), either rescind, modify or alter any such order:


Provided by that before any such application is disposed of, the said authority shall afford to the applicant and to the original complainant, as the case may be, an opportunity of appearing before it either in person or by a person representing him and showing cause against the order and shall, if it rejects any such application either wholly or in part, record its reasons for such rejection.