Actor Juhi Chawla on Monday moved the Delhi High Court against the proposed setting up of 5G wireless networks in India, arguing that the technology’s rollout must not be allowed unless it is certified safe, Bar and Bench reported.
Chawla said that her petition addressed the “dire and palpable risks” to the public, which could result from the “indiscriminate and admittedly-untested” rollout of the telecommunications technology.
“The State, on the principle that ‘prevention’ is better than ‘cure’, has an ongoing 24x7x365 duty to ensure the safety and health of its citizens, both the living as well as those yet to be born, which duty would extend to ensuring that products of a hazardous nature – or even a potentially hazardous nature – are not permitted to come into the economic mainstream till they are certified safe by the State, both for existing as well as future generations,” the petition stated.
Chawla claimed that if 5G technology is rolled out, no human being, animal, bird or plant will be able to avoid exposure to radiation 10 to 100 times higher than the existing levels, according to PTI.
She also claimed that 5G technology threated to provoke “serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems”.
The actor told the court that in 2019, Belgium’s capital Brussels had halted the rollout of 5G services in view of the health risks that it posed, according to Bar and Bench.
The petitioner claimed that insurance companies in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom had been refusing to cover the risk that telecommunications companies face due to lawsuits against even injuries caused by radiation.
Chawla said the the authorities must certify that there is no danger to any form of life from the rollout of 5G technology.
Justice C Hari Shankar, who heard the matter on Monday, transferred the petition to another bench. It will be heard on Wednesday.
According to the World Health Organization, no adverse health effects have been causally linked to exposure to wireless technologies so far. “Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum but, so far, only a few studies have been carried out at the frequencies to be used by 5G,” it said in February 2020.
The global health body added that the exposure from 5G networks is similar to that from existing mobile phone base stations. “With the use of multiple beams from 5G antennas, exposure could be more variable as a function of location of the users and their usage,” WHO said. “Given that the 5G technology is currently at an early stage of deployment, the extent of any change in exposure to radiofrequency fields is still under investigation.”
In 2014, the global health agency had said the link between the use of mobile phones and adverse health effects was also not established.
However, in 2019, WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer said that all radio frequency radiation, which includes mobile signals, was “possibly carcinogenic”. “There evidence that falls short of being conclusive that exposure may cause cancer in human,” they had said.