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J&K HC seeks from Telecom ministry, BSNL rules for putting up mobile towers near hospitals, public places

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Srinagar: The High J&K High Court Tuesday asked the Ministry of Telecommunications, Government of India and BSNL, its telecom service provider, to bring on record the rules regulating the installation of mobile towers near hospitals and other public places.

A division bench comprising the Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar passed the order directing the Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI) to file in a month’s time objections and bringing on record (any) rules and guidelines regarding the installation of mobile towers in human habitations, more particularly the hospitals and educational institutions.

The orders were passed in a public interest petition filed by one Mohammad Habib through advocate Syed Manzoor Ahmad.

The petition prayed that BSNL, the Government of India owned telecommunications service provider, be directed to remove its tower near a hospital in Batalik Tehsil of Kargil district.

The controversy involved in petition is regarding the location of the mobile tower. The argument of counsel for the petitioner is that no such tower can be installed within the close vicinity of the medical health centre/hospital and the tower in question is just adjacent to the hospital.

It said another tower has been raised in violation of the guidelines by the Bharti Airtel, an Indian multinational telecommunications services company, near the hospital.

Citing a Rajasthan High Court judgment and the guidelines by the Jammu Municipal Corporation, the petitioner’s lawyer said that the telecom towers “emit cancer-causing radioactive waves” and should be at least 100 meters away from the hospitals, schools and the other public places.

N A Beigh, counsel appearing for the BSNL, filed a counter-affidavit and submitted that no guidelines have been violated and that the tower was installed on the request of the villagers in 2011.

The petitioner cannot have any grievance once it has been installed and had remained operational till 2019, he said.

“Be that as it may, we have to see whether the guidelines or the rules formulated for the installation of the mobile towers have been violated or not,” the court said while directing that Tahir Majid Shamsi, ASGI appearing for the respondents, shall in one month’s time file objections and bring on record any rules or guidelines regarding the installation of mobile towers in the region.

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