India Begins to Regulate Cell Towers

City of Mumbai Prohibits Cell Towers near Schools, Colleges, Orphanages

Cell towers are being dismantled by the thousands in various parts of India.

In August 2013 the city of Mumbai, the most populous city in India, prohibited cell towers within 100 meters of schools, colleges, orphanages, child rehabilitation centers, and old age homes. It ordered that existing antennas on schools, colleges and hospitals be removed.  It also prohibited the installation of antennas on residential rooftops without the consent of every person on the top floor, as well as the consent of 70% of the people in the rest of the building.  And it began the process of dismantling 3,200 illegal rooftop towers.

The government of the state of Maharashtra, however, in which Mumbai is located, released a draft policy in mid-October 2013 that lowered radiation limits tenfold, but otherwise ignored the policy of Mumbai. Negotiations between city and state are ongoing.

Juhi Chawla photo-sm

 Actor and activist Juhi Chawla addresses the media at the Press Club, Mumbai

Supreme Court of India Orders Cell Towers Removed From Schools, Colleges, Hospitals in Rajasthan

On November 27, 2012 the High Court of the state of Rajasthan, India’s largest state geographically, ordered the removal of all cell towers from the vicinity of schools, colleges, hospitals and playgrounds because of radiation “hazardous to life.”  The court’s 200+ page decision thoroughly reviewed the worldwide evidence that cell towers are harming human beings and wildlife.

On July 5, 2013 the Supreme Court of India upheld this decision.

High Court of West Bengal prohibits cell tower for health reasons

A dispute between brothers in the village of Garankati resulted in a permanent injunction against a cell tower, issued by the High Court of the State of West Bengal on the basis of health.

Netai Chandra Haldar took his brother, Gouranga Mohan Haldar, to court, because Gouranga had entered into a contract with telecom company BSNL to erect a cell tower on his portion of their land. Netai contended that the tower would be “dangerous to the life and health of human beings and flora and fauna, and such a tower has its harmful effects to all the people of the locality which may cause many diseases including cancer.”

The judge, after reviewing the worldwide evidence about health and environmental effects, issued a permanent injunction. The judge said:

“The radiation of the said tower is dangerous to the life of human beings and also flora and fauna causing severe imbalance to the wholesome environment which is emancipated as one of the basic fundamental rights included with right to life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

“For an immediate financial gain,” said the judge, “the installation of the telephone tower will obviously help the defendant no.1 but in the long run it will cause greater harm to him and his family members also including the risk of so many diseases including deadly cancer.”