In a one-of-its-kind decision, the Supreme Court ordered to shut down a mobile phone tower on the ground after a 42-year-old man claimed that the electromagnetic radiation from the tower afflicted him with cancer, says a Times of India report.
Harish Chand Tiwari, a domestic help who works at the residence of Prakash Sharma in Gwalior’s Dal Bazar area, moved the Supreme Court a year ago through advocate Nivedita Sharma, complaining that a BSNL tower illegally installed on a neighbour's rooftop in 2002 had exposed him to harmful radiation 24x7 for the last 14 years.
Following the apex court’s order is likely to trigger the debate over the effects of radiation from mobile phone towers while the government argues that there is no evidence to prove that the waves cause cancer.
Tiwari complained that the radiation from the BSNL tower, less than 50 metres from the house where he worked, afflicted him with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“We direct that the particular mobile tower shall be deactivated by BSNL within seven days from today,” Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha were quoted by Times of India as saying.
This is the first time in the nation’s history that a mobile phone tower will be closed on an individual’s petition alleging harmful radiation.
The top court, which began hearing the issue relating to radiation from cell towers in March 2016, had asked the parties to file additional documents to show that radiation from such towers were harmful to humans and animals.
Social activists have alleged that radiation from mobile phone towers have caused sparrows, crows and bees to vanish.
On the contrary, the Cellular Operators Association of India and the Union government have vehemently denied the allegations, saying that no scientific study conclusively linked mobile phone tower radiation to cancer.
The department of telecom (DoT) in its affidavit before the Supreme Court in October last year had said that of the 12 lakh mobile phone towers in the country, it had tested 3.30 lakh towers.
It said only 212 towers were found exceeding radiation limits and they were fined Rs 10 lakh.