The Delhi High Court today stayed its order for constituting a committee of technical and medical experts to examine potential health hazards from over 5,000 mobile phone towers in the capital and refused to allow MCD seal 2,952 illegal towers in the city.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra stayed the single judge Bench order of May 31 directing Telecommunication Secretary and the MCD Commissioner to constitute a broad-based committee drawing representatives from NGOs working in the field of telecom, associations of cellular operators.
The court had on May 13 restrained the civic body from sealing illegal mobile phone towers after cellular operators approached it challenging the decision of the MCD to seal the towers of the operators who did not deposit the raised fee of Rs. five lakh.
The Bench passed the order on an appeal filed by the MCD challenging the single judge Bench order on setting up of the committee and allowing cellular companies to operate their towers by depositing Rs one lakh instead of Rs five lakhs as fixed by it.
Challenging the order, the municipal body contended that court cannot interfere in its decision-making process as being an executive body it has all the right to fix the charge for mobile operators.
MCD contended that the latest policy has taken due care of the health and public safety and the citizens would not be exposed to harmful radiations emitted from the towers.
The municipal body had started the sealing exercise after the deadline for operators to apply for regularisation after paying the hiked amount had expired.
MCD had said that out of 5,364 towers in the city, only 2,412 had requisite permission and the remaining 2,952 were illegal in all the city's 12 municipal zones.
The MCD had on February 9 brought in a new policy on mobile towers revising the guidelines for cell towers and hiked the amount payable by the service providers to the MCD for installing a tower from Rs one lakh to Rs 5 lakh.