The Delhi High Court imposed a Rs 20 lakh ($27,342) fine on established Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla and two co-petitioners after dismissing their suit against the deployment of 5G wireless technology in the country. This comes at a time when the Indian telecom operators are yet to start work for 5G field trials in the country.
Chawla has been known for her activism against EMF radiation or electromagnetic radiation emanating from telecom towers. In addition, she had challenged the deployment of 3G and 4G technologies in the past.
While imposing the fine, the high court bench of Justice JR Midha described Chawla’s plea as “defective” and said that Chawla and the other two petitioners abused the process of law and wasted the court’s time.
“It appears that the suit was filed for publicity. Plaintiff Juhi Chawla circulated a link to the hearing on social media, which created the disruption thrice. The Delhi Police shall identify the persons and take action against those who created the disruptions,” the bench said while quashing the plea.
Chawla, on May 31, had filed a lawsuit against the implementation of 5G mobile technology in India and claimed that the 5G technology exposes people and animals to RF radiation that is 10 to 100 times greater than it exists today.
She and co-petitioners had sought direction from the arrayed defendants to certify that 5G is safe for humans and asked them to produce their studies regarding RF radiation in support.
Justice Midha-led bench said that the suit, which raised questions about health hazards due to 5G, was “stuffed with unnecessary scandalous, frivolous and vexatious averments” which are liable to be struck down.
The court also observed that plaintiffs could have approached the government first to seek clarity on the 5G technology.
India’s private telecom operators and infrastructure providers recently expressed concerns over rumours circulating in social media platforms about 5G spectrum trials fueling the spread of COVID-19 in the country. They had said that such misleading campaigns, if not brought under control immediately, may significantly impact the telecom operations and connectivity.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, reiterated that any concern around the adverse impact of 5G on health is “totally misplaced”.
COAI welcomed the court’s decision and said, “it puts to rest motivated rumour-mongering that was doing the rounds.”
India already has strict norms in place, and prescribed standards for EMF radiation limit in the telecom sector is far more stringent than global-accepted standards, COAI claimed.
“Radiation permitted in India is one-tenth of what is accepted globally, so already our systems have taken this into account…Any notion or concern about radiation and impact are misplaced. These are fallacious fears, and this always happens whenever a new technology is introduced,” S P Kochhar, Director General, COAI, was quoted as saying by India’s news wire service PTI.
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