The Delhi University’s Administration Department has issued an order forbidding any use of loud speakers, microphones, public address systems or fire crackers in a 100 metre vicinity of any ‘Educational Blocks’ after designating them as ‘Silence Zones’
This decision to ban any loudspeakers is facing a lot of criticism from both students and teachers alike, as this semester gets lined up for a huge round of protests specially those by DUTA starting from the 5th February 2019, this decision comes as a perfect answer to curb the power of voice and opinions that are meant to be transferred in these protests. As any north campus student can tell the image of Arts faculty in our heads will always be filled someone or the other protesting against some misdoings with a microphone or loud speaker in hand, yet not anymore as this move effectively gets rid of it.
The proctorial office’s response to this line of complaint was that they have ‘no objection’ to protests ‘but noise must be avoided’. The administrative body issued the advisory on noise pollution on the 1st of February. It was signed by the proctor Neeta Sehgal said that under the Noise Pollution (Regulations and Control) Rules, 2000, “an area of 100 metres around the premises of the University of Delhi (an educational Institution) is a silence zone”. It added that these zones were being notified as per the directions of Delhi high court and National Green Tribunal. As per the proctorial office the decision was necessary as these kinds of loud noises disturb the teaching and general peace of the environment that should be around a national educational institute.
The oppressed parties feel that these measures have been taken up to shun the Karamchari association and Library association who often protest in the gardens in front of the Vice – Chancellors office. A student from north campus who has wished not to be named also commented on the issue saying “it has become a notion for the administrative bodies to state different mundane reasons to punch out rules aimed at taking away our rights to force us into submission. It happened in Ramjas three years ago where all kinds of music system or loud phones were banned after protests inside college and now its this rule to stop us from raising our voices.”
This decision also bought both the DUTA and DUSU presidents Rajib Ray and Shakti Singh into the same playing field as both object this decision to be one intended to stifle the voices, “stop us from protesting on campus” and both have called it out saying that they will challenge it and not let the administration win the fight. Yet the chances seem grim as a similar order issued in JNU last year was challenged in the Delhi High Court, where the court ruled in the favour of the University Administration.
Whether the rule get reverted back or not, it would seem that the students and other stake holders will have to look for new ways to make their voices heard and spread without the use of Loudspeakers. Well at the same time there are also some kids who support the decision stating that constant protesting and loud noises do disturb the students and their educations. So what can be the middle ground now where the voices aren’t caged and others aren’t disturbed.