Supreme Court declines to intervene in setting up independent mobile radiation control body

The Supreme Court today refused to intervene to set up an independent body free from government to regulate radiation level from cellphone towers.  The apex court, while hearing a public interest litigation which sought the court to direct the government to ban installation of cellphone towers in densely populated pockets, said that it can not interfere in the matter.  [via]

The court was of the view that as government has already set up a committee on radiation issue, it needs a free hand at the initial stages.

The case was filed by lawyer and well known India Against Corruption’s member Prashanth Bhushan seeking a directive to the department of telecommunications to establish an independent regulatory body to enforce the present safety norms regulating the Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) radiation from base transmitting stations.

Earlier on September 1, government had issued guidelines to control electromagnetic radiations and asked operators to cut radiation levels by 1/10th from the existing standards, making India one of the few countries to have strict controls on radiation levels.

The standards have been put in place just a few days after the ministry of environment and forest submitted its report “on possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife including birds and bees,” which is said to have been plagiarised and misrepresents facts to support one side of the argument.

Based on the report, the department of telecommunications had come out with a set of guidelines for mobile phone towers. The government had asked operators to cut electromagnetic frequency exposure limit (Base Station Emissions) by 1/10th. It also formed cells to conduct audits and approve self certification furnished by service providers. For non compliance, a penalty of Rs 5 lakh per station per provider has been imposed.