The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a public interest litigation petition that sought a directive to the Union government to appoint an independent regulator to monitor radiation from mobile phone towers.
A Bench of Justices H. L. Dattu and C. K. Prasad told Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, that the government had laid down the emission norms only in September and as such it should be given some more time to enforce them — and tighten them, if need be. “For the present, we are not inclined to admit the PIL [petition].”
Quoting a 2007 report submitted by eminent scientists, Mr. Bhushan said it highlighted the health hazards of electromagnetic radiation, but the government had not taken any action on it. The report cited evidence to prove that exposure to radiation from the cellular phone towers could result in childhood leukaemia, brain tumours, genotoxic effects, neurological effects and neurodegenerative diseases, immune system deregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, breast cancer, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects. The government set the emission limit at 0.92 w/m2 (watt per square metre), while in China, Italy, France and Poland, it was one-tenth of this, 0.1 w/m2.
The Bench said the court could step in only if the government utterly failed to minimise the health hazards arising from such emissions. “Right now, we can’t step into its shoes and fix the emission limits,” it said and dismissed the petition.