SC extends deadline for removal of cell towers

The Supreme Court on Monday extended by three weeks the January 27 deadline set by the Rajasthan High Court to remove mobile phone towers installed overhead or in the vicinity of schools, hospitals and playgrounds.

Hearing an appeal by the telecom operators against the high court order of November 27, the apex court also issued notices to the Centre and Rajasthan government.

A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court had held mobile towers as a health hazard and directed telecom service providers operating in the state to remove within two months their towers falling in the vicinity of schools, hospitals and playgrounds.

As per the order, radiations emitted from mobile phones and mobile base towers were "hazardous to children and patients" citing an inter-ministerial committee of the Central Government and hence required relocation from school, colleges, hospitals and playgrounds immediately.

The operators have challenged this direction, claiming that there was no necessity for the court to pass directives when the Centre has already constituted an authority to look into the issue.

The operators had on Friday mentioned the matter before a SC bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and sought an urgent hearing of their plea, particularly their request to pass an interim stay order on the directions of the Rajasthan HC.

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