THE BOMBAY High Court on Wednesday said that there is no risk of serious harm on account of non-ionised radiation emanating from mobile towers on the health and well being of humans and other species.
The court was hearing four petitions filed by Parel residents Biju K Balan, Kiran Shantaram and Ravindra K Vankudre, Borivali’s Lake View Co-operative Housing Society Limited and Lower Parel’s Casa Grande Co-operative Housing Society, questioning the permission granted to Reliance Jio-Infocom to erect mobile towers and install equipment for telecommunication network on a recreational ground.
The petitions has alleged that electro-magnetic radiation, generated by mobile towers, adversely affect the health and well being of humans and other living beings. A Division Bench of Justice B R Gavai and Justice N J Jamadar said, “…we find that the scientific material, as of today, does not indicate any identifiable risk of serious harm on account of nonionised radiation emanating from telecommunication cell site (TCS) /base station (BS) and equipments for telecommunication network (sic).”
The petition stated that in May 2015, when representatives of Reliance had come to V Shantaram Balodya garden at Parel to erect a mobile tower, the petitioners were told that the BMC had granted permission to Reliance in this regard on February 20, 2015.
The petitioner alleged that this permission was in violation of the notification issued by the state government on March 4, 2014, detailing the “regulations for setting up of TCS/BS and installation of equipment for telecommunication network”.
The petitioner relied upon a report of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, on wildlife, including birds and bees’, and deleterious effects of electro-magnetic radiation generated by mobile towers on human health and other living creatures. The petitioner told the court that the very erection and existence of mobile “towers jeopardizes the environment, in general, and the health and safety of the humans”.
The state government told the court that the permission granted to the company was in conformity with the guidelines issued by the Union government and the notification.
Senior counsel Milind Sathe, counsel for Reliance Jio-Infocom Limited, told the court that there is no conclusive evidence which suggests adverse health effects on account of exposure to electro-magnetic field radiation of mobile towers.
Sathe referred to a number of studies, including the documented view of the World Health Organisation, which stated that the government has adopted stricter norms and directed to limit the radiation from the cellphone towers to 1/10th of the limits prescribed by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.
The court said, “We are of the view that there is a consistent judicial opinion, speaking through various judgments of the high courts, about the absence of any scientific material or data to warrant the prohibition on installation of TCS/BS and equipment for telecommunication network (sic).”