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Are cell phones bad for you? SC takes note of Bhushan PIL raising radiation science [READ PETITION]

Are cell phones and their infra bad for you?
Are cell phones and their infra bad for you?

The PIL titled Dr Naresh Chand Gupta v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) and Others (WP civil no 316/2016) was listed (as item no 23) for hearing today in court no 1 of the Supreme Court presided by CJI and Justice Khanwilker.

The petition showcases scientific literature from India and abroad regarding ill effects of radiation (radio frequency radiation or RFR) from cell phones and towers in humans and animals. The ill effects range from headache, memory impairment, sleep troubles to cancer in human beings.

RFR has also been attributed to declining population of sparrow and other bird species as well as huge decline in beehives.

The petition cites the BioInitiative Reports of 2007 and 2012 which called for immediate reduction in radiation norms worldwide after a review of about 4000 scientific studies. The literature provide overwhelming evidence in favour of drastically reducing the present radiation norms in India.

Further, the petition relies on several reports of committees formed by various ministries and the Parliament to show that there is no mechanism in India to ensure compliance of even the present norms by telecom companies and mobile phones' manufacturers/importers.

The petition asks the court to prohibit the installation of cell towers in the vicinity of residential areas, hospitals, schools, wildlife and other sensitive areas. The petition also makes a case for a drastic reduction of exposure norms for cell phones and towers.

The court issued notices to all respondents - NOIDA, Indus Towers Ltd and the Ministry of Telecom and Broadcast. Yesterday, Gupta's petition was argued by Prashant Bhushan, assisted by Harshvardhan.

The case is tagged with another similar case, Bhupesh Segal vs DDA. Bhupesh Segal's petition is an appeal against the verdict of NGT, with senior advocate ML Varma is appearing for the petitioner, and the DDA represented by senior advocates Ramji Srinivasan and Gopal Jain, alongside other advocates. The next hearings are listed for 22 July.

The NGT's verdict on the case is also published below.

Read the Prashant Bhushan cell radiation PIL

NGT judgment re cell phone towers from December 2015

Photo by Jordan Mowbray

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