The Bombay High Court has observed that there is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating any identifiable risk of serious harm on account of non-ionized radiation emanating from TCS/BS and equipments for telecommunication network.
The bench comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice NJ Jamadar was considering the challenge raised by some persons challenging the permissions granted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to the telecommunication companies for erection of the telecommunication cell site (TCS)/base station (BS) and installation of equipments for telecommunication network.
The petitioners contended that majority of studies have indicated that the electromagnetic radiation emanating from TCS/BS have negative impacts upon humans and other living creatures. Invoking their right under Article 21, they contended that human life cannot be placed in peril when there is a body of opinion which indicates electromagnetic radiation is harmful to human life and well-being.
Rejecting these submissions, the bench observed that there is no conclusive scientific evidence as yet to indicate that the electromagnetic radiation emanating from TCS/BS and equipments for telecommunication network has deleterious effect on human well-being.
"The issue cannot be tested on the numerical strength of the reports without examining the nature of the scientific material and findings therein. It would be too simplistic way to deal with the issue. Unfounded and unsubstantiated claims do not command scientific weight. The mere fact that in majority of studies adverted to in the aforesaid Report some or other impact of the electromagnetic waves was found on humans does not justify the conclusion that the electro-magnetic radiation emanating from TCS/BS has adverse and ill effects on human health and well-being ",the bench said.
The court also observed that there were adequate regulations in place to ensure that the installation of TCS/BS and equipments for telecommunication network does not cause unwarranted intrusion and adverse impact upon human health and well-being.
The bench, referred to judgments of Kerala, Madras and Gujarat High Courts, which had observed that the electromagnetic radiation emanating from the base stations were unlikely to pose a risk to health. It noted that the Gujarat High Court had also observed that there is no reason for them to fear of erection of base stations and telephone towers and thereby dispel the impression in the mind of common man that mobile towers have the potential to cause health hazard due to emission of radioactive waves.
Dismissing the petitions, the bench said: "We are of the view that there is a consistent judicial opinion, speaking through various judgments of the High Courts, about the absence of any scientific material or data to warrant the prohibition on installation of TCS/BS and Equipments for Telecommunication Network… We find that the scientific material, as of today, does not indicate any identifiable risk of serious harm on account of non-ionized radiation emanating from TCS/BS and Equipments for Telecommunication Network."
However, the bench added: "We are mindful of the fact that the foundational basis of the aforesaid judicial pronouncements and the view which we are persuaded to take is the prevalent body of scientific opinion. Since the risk potential is enormous, we need to be in a state of perpetual precaution and, thus, strict enforcement of the prevailing standards and continuous research to obviate the possible risk are absolutely necessary."