A 10-member parliamentary committee will spend considerable time studying public opinion on a matter they think is of great importance — restricting the use of mobile phones.
The Rajya Sabha committee on petitions, with mandate to consider any representation seeking enactment of a new law, has started proceedings on a plea filed by Gurjit Singh, a lawyer-cum-journalist from Patiala. Singh wants “reasonable restrictions” on the use of mobiles in educational institutions, places of worship and public areas.
The committee, headed by former BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu, has now invited public opinion through advertisements. The Committee will also hear out telecom companies, schools and colleges and submit a report to Rajya Sabha, which will send it to ministries concerned for action. “We have received the petition and are going to have extensive consultations with people on it,” Naidu confirmed.
“Mobile phones are being misused. Teachers are busy on cells in class, officials show more interest in mobiles than work. Even at cremation grounds, people use phones,” Singh told HT, by, you guessed it, a landline. He does not own a mobile.
Singh also wants a ban on camera phones and installation of jammers in educational institutes. Filed on November 16, 2007, the petition was admitted by the committee after approval by Rajya Sabha chairman M. Hamid Ansari.
A Vodafone spokesperson said: “We won’t be able to comment on the issue now.”
Legal experts doubt if a law would be enacted to ban use of cellphones in public places. “The government cannot prohibit the use of mobile phones. We have to remain within the domain of reasonableness,” said lawyer Rajeev Dhavan.