A 42-year-old domestic help will go down in history as the man who persuaded the Supreme Court to shut down a mobile phone tower on the ground that its electromagnetic radiation+afflicted him with cancer.
After a year of this action taken by Harish Chand Tiwari , SC has recently announced its historic judgment and first-of-its kind, the Supreme Court has ordered a mobile phone tower to shutdown.
Last year, Harish, who works at the residence of Prakash Sharma in the Dal Bazar area of Gwalior, moved the SC through advocate Nivedita Sharma, complaining that a BSNL tower illegally installed on a neighbour’s rooftop in 2002 had exposed him to harmful radiation 24×7 for the last 14 years.
The order is likely to further fuel the debate over the effects of radiation from mobile phone towers with a section of activists feeling vindicated while the government argues there is no evidence to prove that the waves cause cancer.
Radiation from the BSNL tower, less than 50 metres from the house where he worked, afflicted him with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma caused by continuous and prolonged exposure to radiation, Tiwari complained.
In a recent order, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said, “We direct that the particular mobile tower shall be deactivated by BSNL within seven days from today.” The tower will be the first to be closed on an individual’s petition alleging harmful radiation.
The SC, which began hearing the issue relating to radiation from cell towers from March 18 last year, had asked the parties to file additional documents to show that radiation from such towers were harmful to humans and animals.
Activists have alleged that radiation from mushrooming mobile phone towers have caused sparrows, crows and bees to vanish.
In 2014, a parliamentary committee had recommended to the Union government to carry out a scientific study by a reputed government agency on impact of telecommunication and mobile phone towers and handsets on humans. Private petitioners had alleged that no such study had been undertaken.