In a relief to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Rajasthan High Court order that directed the company to remove several 3G and 4G ground base mast towers in Jaipur.
While staying the HC’s May 22 order, a vacation bench headed by Justices PC Pant observed that “towers already installed should not have been asked to be uninstalled at an interim order”. However, it did not lift the stay on more tower installations. The bench also asked sought response from former judge IS Israni, the petitioner before the HC, on Reliance Jio’s appeal challenging the HC directions and posted the matter for further hearing on July 3.
The HC while staying further installation of towers in the city without the required permissions had also ordered Reliance to uninstall within four weeks towers for which permission had not been taken.
The May order of the HC noted that the allegations were that towers were being installed indiscriminately and without proper permission. The order also said 1,800 towers were to come up in the city.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Reliance Jio, told the court that the proposal was only for 400 towers, of which the company had express permission for 175 and deemed permission for 40. He said the activity of installation was being undertaken in an “open and transparent manner.”
Stating that the HC passed the order without providing “adequate opportunity” to present its case, Reliance said the impugned order failed to appreciate the safeguards inherent in the extant regulatory regime and policy objectives in support of grant of deemed permission to it. It further stated that the main ground raised before the HC – the purported public health risks on account of radiation from telecom towers – have been considered and rejected by HCs across the country.
The HC had ordered all base towers for fourth generation (4G) telecom services erected without permission from the city authorities to be removed.
Reliance Jio said its towers meet and exceed rigorous national and international standards and statutory requirements as mandated by law.