The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) not to pass any directions in furtherance to a March 2014 notification permitting installation of mobile towers in playgrounds, recreation grounds, parks and gardens.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A K Menon directed the government and the civic body to file their affidavits within two weeks in reply to a public interest litigation challenging the government's March 4, 2014 notification.
The PIL, filed by NGO Nagar (Alliance for Governance and Renewal), has claimed that the notification allowing installation of admittedly hazardous mobile towers on lands reserved in the development plan (DP) for playgrounds, recreation grounds, parks and gardens was arbitrary.
"Such grounds are meant for public purpose and for children and elderly. By installing mobile towers that emit radiation, the authorities are putting citizens' lives and well-being in danger," the PIL submitted.
According to the petition, in June 2013, a private mobile telecom operator wrote three letters to the government and MCGM requesting permission for lease of land belonging to the civic body, including recreation and playgrounds at 945 sites across the city.
"On October 3, 2013, the government published a notice in the gazette inviting objections and suggestions to a proposed draft notification on installation of mobile towers. On October 21, 2013, the chief engineer (DP) of MCGM in reply to the mobile company's letter stated that permission cannot be granted under the current DP for installation of mobile towers," the petition said.
However, the government went ahead with its draft notification and issued a notification on March 4, 2014. The petition sought the notification to be quashed and set aside.