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������������������ ������������������� ������������������ ������������������ � Bhat Sairam[1]
The number of people dying in urban India due to deteriorating air quality is rising every year and very little is being done to deal with pollution in Indian cities. In early days before the development of Environmental jurisprudence, the Common law remedy of Nuisance was the only means to remedy, and same was wholly based on the discretion of the Judge. Nuisance need not be public nuisance and interference with a person�s personal comfort is enough, though at least in general, a private nuisance pre-supposes possession and control of land from which nuisance proceeds.[2] Whether noise constitutes a nuisance is a question of degree. Yet where the noise is caused maliciously, same will be taken into account. Noise pollution has, thus, two sources-industrial and non-industrial, but movement against noise pollution, has not been effective, as most� people in India do not consider noise as pollution but a part of routine and modern life. In order to curb noise pollution, it is essential that people realize that dangerous consequences of noise and to take some remedial measures. Noise by definition is unwanted sound. What is pleasant to some ears may be extremely unpleasant to other, depending on a number of psychological factors.[3] Noise pollution can� be divided into two categories viz. Natural and man-made. Natural causes of noise pollution are air, noise, volcanoes, seas, rivers, exchanging voices of living organs including man and animals. Some of the chief causes of man made noise pollution are machines and modern equipment of various types, automobiles, trains, aero planes, use of explosive, bursting of firecracker and other things leading to noise pollution. Noise affects human life in many ways. It affects sleep, hearing, communication and mental health and physical health and finally the peace of living. It may even lead to madness in persons. However, noise, which are melodious whether natural or man-made, cannot always be considered as factors leading to pollution. Pollution is a noun derived from transitive verb �pollute�, which according to Random House Dictionary of English Language means: to foul, to pollute the air etc. An important component of air pollution which is assuming importance is the Pollution from Noise. Noise is an inescapable by product of industrial environment, which is increasing very fast with the advancement in industrialization and urbanization. The Industries located in the residential areas such as the printing press, agro based industries, automobiles repairing, grinding mills etc are the main sources of community noise affecting public continuously living in the vicinity. Noise not only causes irritation or annoyance but it does also constrict the arteries, and increases the flow of adrenaline and forces the heart to work faster, thereby accelerating the rate of cardiac ailment, the reason being that continuous noise causes an increase in the cholesterol level resulting in permanent constriction of blood vessels, making one prone to heart attacks and strokes.[4] Health experts are of the opinion that excessive noise can also lead to neurosis and nervous breakdown. More often than not it is forgotten that Noise travel through air and hence it is measured in ambient air quality level. Hence Noise is essential as important as air pollution or worse than that, as the health hazard is not immediately know.


Noise is measured in� decibel. Experts believe that continues noise level is excess of 90 decibels can cause loss of hearing and irreversible changes in nervous system. WHO has fixed 45 decibels as the safe noise level for a city, though the four metropolitan cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai, usually registered an average more than 90 decibels, while Mumbai is rated as the third noisiest city in the world. New Delhi is said to be closely following Bombay in noise pollution and if control measures are not taken to reduce sound level, result would be alarmingly disastrous.[5]
Legal response to Noise Pollution: Various laws address the issues of noise pollution in part, as being specific to certain activity.[6] Viz 1. Railways Act, 1890 and� noise: A large amount of noise pollution is advanced by the noise emitted from railway engines and carriages. There is no check to curb this noise pollution under the Railways Act, 1890 (Act No. IX OF 1890) statutory authority for the use of locomotives to railways administration.[7] 2. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988[8]����������������������������� Vehicles are one of the chief noise producing irritants in modern times. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 through sections 20, 21 (j), 41, 68, 68 I, 70, 91 and 111� empowers a State Government to frame rules for the un keep of motor� vehicles and control of noise produced by them in this jurisdiction. It is submitted that the Motor Vehicles Rules made by States do not contain any effective control measures to control� noise pollution except a meagre control of horns and� silencers of the motor vehicles.[9] 3. The Aircrafts Act, 1934 Under Section 5 of the Aircrafts Act 1934 Central Government has power to make rules for manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import or export any aircraft and this may cover the regulation of air transport services and� the prohibition of the use of aircraft . The Act has many other provisions but there is no provision for the control of noise.� In this regard it is suggested that aerodromes be constructed far away from the residential areas of a city in order to protect residence from the noise created by frequent take off and landing. 4. The Factories Act, 1948 It is very surprising that no industrial law provides any protection to the workers from noise pollution. Section 11 (I) of the Act stipulates that every factory shall be kept clean, without having any nuisance and in particular the use of word ' nuisance' in section II may include 'noise , but it is very high time that the employees should be protected from noise pollution by making some statutory provisions in the industrial laws. [10]� It is also very amusing that under section 35 of the Act, protection is given for the eyes of an employee working but� as such no protection is provided to the ears.[11] �� � The Right to means of expressions and sound: The Indian Constitution under Art. 19 grants fundamental right to every citizen to freedom of speech and expression, with reasonable restriction of decency,[12] morality, security of State, defamation, incitement of offence etc. The use of loudspeaker as a means of expression is regulated by reasonable restriction so as to meet public order and safety.� Having regard to the provision of Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, it cannot be said that the District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Officer and the Police authorities are the sole authority who can grant at will permission without having any regard to the fundamental rights of the fellow citizens. Such authorities, by granting permission to display microphones, cannot make the public the captive listeners. The citizen has a right to leisure, right to sleep, right not to hear and right to remain silent. He has also the right to read and speak with others. Amplifiers and microphone create tremendous noise and sound which may travel at least half to one kilometer away. Use of microphones certainly take away the right of the citizens to speak with others, their right to read or think or the right to sleep. There may be heart patients or patients suffering from nervous disorder may be compelled to bear this serious impact of sound pollution which has had an adverse effect on them. It may create health problems.[13] In India, position is different and the use of loudspeaker assumes the status of a fundamental right by virtue of Article 19(1) and Article 25 of the Constitution

A bye-law of a municipality requiring permission for using a loudspeaker does not infringe Article 19(1)(a).[14]� State can regulate the use of loudspeakers and mechanical or other contrivances to amplify sound, and does not amount to an infringement of the right under Article 19(1) (a).[15]� Similar is the case with explosives, fire cracker, etc.� Then comes Article 25 of the Constitution protecting the freedom , conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion, Clause (1) of this Article states: �Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion�.� This right is made subject only to public order, morality and health.� Since this right is subject to health, noise caused by loudspeakers, use of fire-cracker and explosives can be prohibited in interest of health, but then again, nexus between noise and health will have to be judicially established.[16]� As to other categories of noise pollution, aeroplanes, trains, card and all varieties of automobile, radio and television sets, have the common symptom to add to the noise, since all of them produce noise, now considered to be the most dangerous pollutant of man�s environment.� The Judiciary on its part has come up with some interesting observation as to the freedom of expression and right to religious practice, with that of Pollution free environment. The Judiciary has made balance between the needs of development and the health of citizens. The Response of the Judiciary ��������� Effect of noise on health is a matter which has yet not received full attention of our judiciary, but it deserves.� Pollution being wrongful contamination of environment which causes material injury to the right of an individual, noise can well be regarded as a pollutant because it contaminates environment, causes nuisance and affects the health of a person and would, therefore, offend Article 21, if it exceeds a reasonable limit. Way back in 1952 the Bombay High Court in State of Bombay v Narasu Appa Mali[17] asked authorities to regulate the use of loudspeakers during night when� the Ganesh and Navratri festivals were being celebrated. The Court ordered the strict implementation of Environmental Acts. Nobody can object on celebration of festivals, but their means of celebration must not disturb the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood was the strict view of the Judiciary.
Where noise can be said to amount to nuisance ,a person causing noise can be restrained by injunction, even though that person was causing noise in the course of conducting his business.� Where the nuisance complained of and found was noise generated by the hammering of steel sheets with hammers varying in weight from half a pound to four pounds , it was held in Godham Construction Co. v. Amulya Krishna Ghose[18]� that no money could afford adequate relief to the plaintiff and his neighbours who are thereby discomforted.� It was observed that in determining whether such noise was actual discomfort, the Court as a expert can need no opinion evidence of an expert in order to determine whether hammering of steel plates by hammers up to four pounds in weight would create a terrific noise or not and whether such nuisance could be wholly abated or not by treating the workshop with the well-known method of acoustics. The Gujarat High Court in GIDC Housing Association[19] case had something interesting to contribute. In a writ petition filed by the residents of the housing association complaining about noise pollution caused by an Iron and steel factory, the court went into the fact �who came first� rule. According to this rule a person who goes to a place of nuisance cannot complain unless the nuisance began after the resident colony was established. Since the housing colony was within the Industrial estate and was established after the factory was functioning, the court held that the residents had come to the place of nuisance, hence cannot complain. The Court asked the Company on the other hand to stick to standards for noise emission under the Environmental Protection Act. ��������� On the use of Multi toned electric horns which produce a shrill discomforting sound, the Calcutta high Court in Rabin Mukherjee[20] case held that the State authorities should strictly implement the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and ban the use of such horns and impose fine wherever necessary. ��������� The Noise from use and bursting of fire crackers came up before the, the Calcutta High court, in Burrabazar[21] case . Taking a highly activist stand, the court put severe restriction on the manufacture, storage and selling of fireworks even in the absence of specific legislation for controlling noise creators. The High Court relied on the Constitution, specifically Art. 19(1)(a) read with Art 21, to hold that citizens have a right to a decent environment, right to live peacefully, right to sleep at night and right to leisure, which are all the necessary ingredients of the right to life. Recently in Free Legal Aid Cell v. Government of NCT of Delhi[22] the Court directed for the establishment of separate courts� to deal with the problem of noise pollution. Further all District Magistrates should be empowered to issues prohibitory orders under Sec. 144 of Cr.P.C to limit the hours for the use of loudspeakers. The Court directed the Delhi government� to restrict the use of firecrackers in religious festivals, marriages, processions etc.,. It shall be the duty of the area SDM's to see that Noise Control Rules are strictly adhered to and any default in this regard will be treated as misconduct, liable for disciplinary action besides action for disobeying court's order. Religious right to means of expression: After Narasu Appa Mali case in the Bombay High Court, nothing much was said or done about regulating noise from religious establishment due to sensitive religious sentiments prevailing in the Country. The Court have approached the subject of regulating noise in religious institutions with caution and reverence and most of the decision have been based on the bare facts of the case without the Judiciary touching any aspect about the religious practices. In Biranagana[23] the Court upheld that power of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate under Sec. 34-A of the Police Act 1861 to direct a religious organization against the use of microphones, which might hinder the rights of citizens to lead a life of peace and tranquility. The Kerala High Court in P. A Jacob[24] asked a Christianity denomination not to use loudspeakers on the ground that it would disrupt the law and order and it might be inconvenient for the other group of citizens. Rejecting the petitioners claim of freedom of speech and expression, the Court held that � recognition of the right of speech and expression is recognition accorded to human faculty. A right belongs to human personality and not to a mechanical device. Relying on various scientific studies which shows the negative impact of noise on human beings, the court held that the compulsory exposure of unwilling persons to high noise level would amount to a clear infringement of their constitutional guarantee of right to life under Art. 21. The right to a safe environment including safe air quality and noise level was implicit in the right to life guaranteed according to Art. 21 of our Constitution. ��������� In an organized society, rights are related with duties towards others including neighbors. This was reiterated� in Church�s of God[25] wherein the Apex Court came down heavily on the practice of beating of drums and use of loudspeakers early in the morning in places of worship. The Supreme Court has ruled that no religion prescribes this practice. In a landmark judgment, the Court held that no religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by disturbing peace and tranquility. �In a civilized society in the name of religion, activities which disturb old, infirm persons, student or children having their sleep in the early hours or during day or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted�.� The Court added that �it should not be forgotten that babies in the neighborhoods are also entitled to enjoy their natural right of sleeping in a peaceful atmosphere. Rejecting the contention that by this order the church�s fundamental right under Art. 25 would be violated, Mr. Justice Shah said that the fundamental right to preach religion was subject to public order, morality and healthy. �No religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums�.

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A FEW REFLECTIONS ON NOISE POLLUTION: ISSUES AND CON. 411 [11] It is noted that Central Pollution Control Board in January 1990 had adopted controlling practice for controlling noise from sources other than industries or automobiles. These provisions of various Motor Vehicles Rules help to curb� noise but still the menace by the motor� vehicles persists due to lethargic implementation of these rules. a noise level upto 65 decibels is considered tolerable.[28] In the area of water and air pollution there are two independent Acts. [3] Encyclopedia Americana states: �Noise by definition is unwanted sound. lays down the noise standards for fire-crackers. This not only creates panic among the fellow riders.� Statutory protection is. 1940 have been incorporated in the� Punjab Motor Vehicles Rules. The Environmental Protection Act in Schedule III prescribes measure of Noise pollution in a very crude form. Authorities [Sub-divisional Magistrates] can only grant permission for use of amplified public address system in the open for the period 6. but might led to lot of heath hazard from the already increased problem of high number of vehicles and stress on urban roads. shrill. The Dharmashala was given on rent for the purpose of holding marriages and other functions through out the year and the noise was continuous. ��������������������� (2) No cut-out exhaust whistles. Bangalore. or the election campaign of a candidate. Standard fixed by the notification dated 5-10-1999 referred to above. use of a variety of horns and other such devices are prohibited in certain areas notified by the District Magistrate. there is an Act called �Noise Abatement act. ����������������������������������� (3) Nothing in sub-rule (2) shall prevent the use of vehicles used as ambulances or fire -fighting or salvage purposes. and all these are subject to reasonable restrictions on ground not of noise being a pollutant.� Sweetest music. residing near an Eye Hospital and by the side of a Dharmashala� and near an educational institutions complained to the Court that the State run Dharmashala which accommodates various categories of people and many a religious function� was accused� of producing noise at high level. ������������� (2)No motor vehicle shall be fitted with any multi toned� horn giving a succession of different notes or with any other sound. [1] Research Officer. http://www. public shall have to wait until some verdict of higher judiciary might declare noise as contrary to decency. 1940 reads: Horn-{l) Every motor vehicle shall be fitted with a horn or other approved device available for immediate use by the driver of the vehicle and capable of giving audible and sufficient bearing of the approach or position of the vehicles . Secondly. but deserves serious consideration. 82 [18] AIR 968 Cal.� In other words. with the result that the right to freedom of speech and expression. Government of NCT of Delhi AIR 2001 Delhi 455 [15] It may not be missed that restrictions to be placed in the interest of general public to obtain in relation only to the right to move freely throughout the territory of India . 1960. 1974 consisting of Sections 57 to 74 of that Act relates to measures for control of noise pollution.producing device giving unduly harsh . [6]� With respect to air pollution. Only the District Magistrates can grant permissions after 10. but the reality of ground remains unchanged Only people�s movement might bring about this and it is time that people take this challenge. still births and usually low weight among children born to mothers living near airports.00 am.. 1974 and Air Act. L Mitra. When are we going to integrate the issue of environment as a multidisciplinary study?.00 pm.� [13] Birangana Religious Society v State of Orissa [1996] 100 cal WN 617 [14] Free Legal Aid Cell v.� For children. Prof M.ceeraindia. the assemblage of guests or visitors at marriage or birthday parties or at fairs. No exception is possible. loudspeakers were utilized where music was played at a very high pitch creating disturbance to the petitioner and other persons residing in the said locality. friendly relations with foreign States or public order. the citizen who has filed a complaint can approach the Court with his complaint after 60 day�s notice and the Court can initiate prosecution. [16] State of Bombay v Narasu Appa Mali� AIR 1952 Bom. meals or exhibitions. Horns of the police siren and ambulance are still used in ordinary transport vehicles and buses are popular with their threatening air horns.� A study conducted by a medical team discovered an increased incidence of birth defect. the security of the State. 91 [19] GIDC Housing Association v State of Gujarat 1997 Guj. After permission has been procured the sound must fall within the sound limits prescribed in the Noise Rules. is noise to him. 221 [20] Rabin Mukherjee v State of West Bengal AIR 1985 Cal 222 [21] Burrabazar Fire Works Dealers Association v The Commissioner of Police. educational institutions and hospitals. [4] There has been a high incidence of� emotional disaster among people living near airports. and have entrust the DC of the district to be the regulatory authority for its strict implementation. where is the muffler in the engine or exhaust pipe? Have the people who have certified these vehicles as Euro I or Barath II no responsibility on checking the noise. The Rules mention the creation of silence zones to define the 100 meters from school. Section 1 of which has been superseded by sub-section (9) of section 58 of the Control of Pollution Act.6 of the Delhi Motor vehicles Rules. Keeping in view the serious health hazard due from noise the Government thought it fit to enact a special law in regulation to control Noise pollution. can conceivably cover a ban on noise by loudspeakers can. [2] In England. 6.� In West. The rules also fixes different ambient air quality levels for firecrackers and industrial activities. Dr..Silencers-1) Every motor vehicle shall be fitted with a device (herein referred to as a silencer) which by means of an expansion chamber or otherwise reduces as far as may be reasonable and practicable the noise that would otherwise be made by an escape of exhaust gases from the engine.g.5 and 5. [29] Conclusion The Noise Regulation Rules fails to check noise in cinema theaters and other in-house public events or even for that matter disco shows and musical concerts. decency or morality or in relation to contempt of courts. ��������������� Every transport vehicle shall be fitted with a bulb horn (Taxis and motor cycle rickshaws should be . [5] By the international standards. any sound may be noise if circumstances cause it to be disturbing. 1998. It is. 1981. and this has been noted for slowing down the process of development of the mental faculties of children. speeches of party leaders or office bearers of any union. ��������������������� 5. It is suggested that these provisions be reconsidered in the context of modern scientific developments and their implementation be observed strictly. Constitution and The Law. If the authorities do not act to stop violation of the Noise Rules.p. suggested that noise pollution caused� by railway engines can be reduced if steam� engines are replaced by electric I diesel engines and welded tracks are used for running the trains.� According to Section 58 of that Act. NLSIU. which must and shall invariably go with a loudspeaker. Ramesh� CEERA. tunnels instead of fly-over and restrictions on noisy traffic. When shall we have a comprehensive legislation on one related issue like pollution. electric horns and similar appliances of any description shall be used on any motor vehicle in such areas within a district as may be notified by the District Magistrate in this behalf. 3. courts. possessed by. and the person can be prosecuted under the provisions of the EPA 1986. Calcutta 1997 (2) CLJ 468 [22] AIR 2001 Delhi 455 [23] Birangana Religious Society v State of Orissa [1996] 100 cal WN 617 2 of 3 10/25/2012 1:03 AM . p. as revealed by study. 1986 is the Umbrella legislation to deal with the every dynamic issue in relation to environmental protection. noise not only causes hearing problems. Vijay Chitnis. therefore. is liable to be arrested under the stringent provisions of the EPA 4. of course.� Noise and vibration generally have been dealt with in 34 Halsbury�s Laws of England Part III of the Control of Pollution Act. where use of fire cracker is there or the twists and pop songs heralding a marriage procession.00 pm. which are manifest most in advertisement of wares or entertainment shows. in India. just as the sound of a pneumatic riveting hammer is noise to nearly everyone. which right has not so much to do with the use of a loudspeaker. but only on grounds of the sovereignty and integrity of India. depending on a number of psychological factors. [10] Ibid. The issue of mufflers or silencers in vehicles is hardly been seen by people as contributing to noise pollution. District Magistrates cannot grant permission for use of any amplified public address system after 10. but also other neurological reactions that make them irritable and hyperactive.00 pm is violation of the law The enactment of the Noise Regulation Rules 2000 under Sec. or on vehicle used by police officers in the course of their duties or on other similar vehicles of such sound signals as may be approved by the Government. CEERA. either water or air? The Judicial response has been tremendous and appreciable. [12] One thing that. which is regulated by the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. defamation or incitement to offence. 3 of Environmental Protection Act. provided with either to electric horns with two switches or one electric horn and bulb horn)� ��������� . railway Companies in emergencies are at liberty to produce noise as much as they can and there is no check upon them. some of the earliest statutes were the Bengal Smoke Nuisance Act of 1905 and the Bombay Smoke Nuisance Act of 1912 [7] At common Law in England it would have been an actionable nuisance to use engines which were such a source of danger. Any person violating the Rules. 1930 reads: ���������������������������������������� Horn -( I) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not sound the horn for any purpose other than to upswing safety in traffic and shall not wild it continuously. N. however. The Environmental Protection Act.9-Noise-(1) Every Motor vehicle shall be so� constructed and maintained as not to cause undue noise when in motion Identical provisions to the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules. but the difficulty again is that the word �decency� being itself undefined. The Noise Regulation Rule 2000 ��������� Till very recently there was no specific legislation in India to deal with the problem due to excessive noise. P[27]� a cardiac patient. [75 decibels] commercial [65 decibels] and residential zones [55 decibels]. Editors. and leave it only on air pollution. concern over noise pollution has resulted in introduction of noise-proof motor vehicles.� Result of studies conducted by medical experts may or may not be accurate.� What is pleasant to some ears may be extremely unpleasant to other. The Rules have prescribe different level of noise in these areas. railway companies in respect of their business. street processions or shobha� yatras betokening a social or religious festivity. In Sayeed Maqsood Ali v The State of M. closed premises. This can be measured on a sound meter. 1986. and it would have been no defence that they had been made as safe as they could be.however. loud or alarming noise . ���������� ��������������������������������� ��Rule 21: A driver can blow horn for safety purposes and is prohibited for its continuous use.00 pm and before 6. noise to be actionable must amount to a nuisance in the ordinary legal sense. if it disturbs a person who is trying to concentrate or to sleep. 407 Rule 21 of the Bihar and Orissa Motors Vehicles Rules. Any person or organization making noise on amplified system after 10. The Court upheld the complaint of the petitioner and ordered the restricted use� of such public places.[4] Foetal development is affected if expectant mother is subjected to continuous noise stress during pregnancy. construction of sound barriers on road sides. A lot of annoyance can be reduced if shuting operations are done far away from residential areas. or to assemble peaceably and without arms and to form associations or unions. In the Dharmashala. National Law School of India University.00 pm. Every motor vehicle shall be so constructed or equipped that the exhaust gases from the engine are discharged downwards so as to impinge on the road surface .. e. Dr. provides the function is within 2. 1940. the Water Act. is seen as a comprehensive legislation in controlling the increase of the noise level in Industrial. Rules 5. Moreover the rules are silent on noise from vehicles. which though regulates the use of multi toned horns[30] is hardly implemented and enforced.htm Whether one individual can maintain a writ petition complaining noise pollution as public nuisance. 1974. But use of fast trains will increase� noise pollution [8] See generally Environmental Management. K. The following are the highlights of the Rules no permission can be granted by any authority for use of public address system in the open after 10.?[26] The fact that one individual approached the Court cannot be dismissed� on the ground that only the petitioner was affected. 82 [17] State of Bombay v Narasu Appa Mali� AIR 1952 Bom.00 am-10. 5. be decency. sirens Klaxons.[31] Euro-I buses by Askoh Leyland and those used by the KSTRC have� sound higher than ordinary vehicles.

. A Jacob v S.00 pm and 6. [24] P. KKR Majestic Colony Welfare Association and other 2000 SCC 282 [26] The Court clarified that the effect of noise pollution was important than the effect on one or many individual..00 am there cannot be use of loudspeakers except in closed premises.A FEW REFLECTIONS ON NOISE POLLUTION: ISSUES AND CON. England. they have the Noise Pollution Abatement Act. [29] As regarding use of loudspeaker.ceeraindia. for instance has enacted the Noise Abatement Act. [27] AIR 2001 MP 220 [28] Many Countries have specific legislation to check and control noise pollution. [30] Rule 149 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 [31] Rule 150 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 prescribes limits on sound from vehicles 3 of 3 10/25/2012 1:03 AM . 1970. P Kottayam AIR 1993 Ker 1 [25] Church of God [Full Gospel] in India Vs. the rules stipulate that between 10 . 1960 and in the United States of America.