x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Court orders yoga club to takes its laughs elsewhere

Noise from laughing yoga club disturbs other says Indian high court, ordering it to relocate.


NEW DELHI // The high court in Mumbai said yesterday that laughing out loud can be considered a public disturbance and ruled that a laughter yoga group be relocated.

The court ruled that "the nuisance has to be stopped," said Veena Thadani, who represents Vinayak Shirsat, 78.

Mr Shirsat, a lawyer himself, took a laughter club called the Sheetal Jogging Association to court in June because they had laughed loudly in front of his bungalow in Kurla, a suburb of Mumbai.

"The police said no one was gathering there anymore, but I argued that ...around five to six people were there, all the same," said Ms Thadani.

The court yesterday asked the police to submit a report to the district magistrate who is now tasked with enforcing the decision.

Members of the Mumbai police were directed by the court to relocate the group, which gathered in a gazebo by a jogging track beside Mr Shirsat's house, to a nearby park.

After repeatedly telling the club to pipe down, Mr Shirsat sued them for "mental agony, pain and public nuisance".

Last week, Justices SA Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar of the Bombay high court said that while laughing was not a crime, the act could, at times be considered a disturbance to some people.

Madan Kataria, a physician, is widely credited as making laughter a popular exercise routine, a trend that started in Mumbai in 1995. He said combining laughter with yoga breathing exercises has physiological and psychological benefits.

The Sheetal Jogging Association is one of more than 100 outdoor laughter yoga clubs in Mumbai.