Bollywood actor Juhi Chawla has moved the Delhi High Court seeking a scientific study on any adverse effects of radio-frequency radiation emitted by cellular telecommunications using 5G technology on ‘health, life, organ or limb of adult or child, or to flora and fauna’ before its official rollout in the country.
The petition, which will be taken up on June 2, has sought a direction to the government and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in particular to certify that deployment of 5G technology for cellular communications posed no reasonable risk or hazard.
Ms. Chawla, in her petition along with Veeresh Malik and Teena Vachani, has also urged the authorities to rope in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to conduct their respective study on the issue.
“The state, equally, has an ongoing duty — again, on the principle that ‘prevention’ is better than ‘cure’ — to scientifically vet all products and technologies before they are permitted to be commercialised and/or accessed by society at large,” the petition stated.
The plea cited the example of Brussels (Belgium), which, it claimed, became the first major city in the world to actually halt any further steps in the 5G rollout in April 2019 on account of recognised health hazards.
“Despite widespread denial by vested and partisan interests, the evidence that radio frequency radiation is most certainly harmful to life is already overwhelming,” the petition said.
“If the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are 10x to 100x times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet,” the plea said.
“These 5G plans threaten to provoke serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems,” it added.
The petition, filed through advocate Deepak Khosla, said the Ministry of Telecommunications has in response to a March 2019 RTI query stated that no studies have been conducted with regards to RF radiation, even as of today.
Unlike, say, 2G, the underlying technology for 5G varies from company to company. In 5G, every carrier has developed its own technology.
“The implication of this is that state actors will not be required to merely vet ‘5G technology’ per se, but each and every single variant offered by each carrier, including homegrown technology,” it added.