The Delhi High Court on Friday, 4 June, dismissed a lawsuit suit filed by actor Juhi Chawla along with Veeresh Malik and Teena Vachani against the implementation of 5G technology in India without proper testing.
The Bench led by Justice JR Midha said that the suit appeared to be a publicity stunt, and imposed a fine of 20 lakh on the plaintiffs.
"Plaintiffs abused process of law. Cost of Rs 20 lakh is imposed on plaintiffs. It appears suit was for publicity. Juhi Chawla circulated link of the hearing on social media," Justice JR Midha told the court.
But anti-5G activists don’t agree with the court’s decision, stating there’s enough reason to stop the implementation of 5G.
'Unfair & Unacceptable': Activists on HC Decision
Pune-based activist Vaishali Patkar called the decision of high court 'unacceptable and unfair'.
"While we completely respect the decision of court, imposing a fine of Rs 20 lakhs was a bit too much. Juhi had only filed the plea seeking answers to very genuine questions, the government should release the data and tell us how harmful or not these radiations are," she said.
Patkar further added that she plans to file a PIL against the implementation of 5G in court soon. “I have been creating awareness about the ill effects of 5G technology on humans since 2020, this tech is harmful and what makes it worse is that we don’t even have significant data to prove otherwise.”
Another activist, Soumik Sengupta said, "I didn't see this coming. I respect Juhi for coming forward and supporting the cause. Why is the government not revealing the data? We will surrender if the data shows that 5G is completely safe and the radiations won't affect any living beings. But, it seems the government doesn't know the answer themselves."
Patkar further mentioned that the frequencies used in 5G can directly affect our health, both physically and mentally.
"Several studies have found that 5G technology can cause tissue heating, cognitive function, cancer and even heart diseases in many cases," he told The Quint.
Effects on Humans
According to a 2017 study conducted by Department of Histology and Embryology in Turkey, mobile phones use frequencies of 1.8 to 2.2 GHz. These frequencies cause tissue heating, as per WHO guidelines.
Tissue heating occurs when your skin absorbs electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) or waves. This also causes a rise in temperature in your body.
Another study conducted by Department of Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications, Sapienza University of Rome found that people experience more EMF-related tissue heating as they grow older. This is because elderly people tend to have reduced skin thickness and blood flow.
Patkar believes that the radiations emitted from 5G towers can penetrate into human body and can be 'possibly' carcinogenic to human beings. "If there is no such thing, then government should make it clear. The problem lies because there are no studies at all to support this claim."
The Quint found two studies which suggest that EMFs are carcinogenic to humans. This study was conducted by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) by 30 scientists from 14 countries.
Effect on Animals
Sengupta said the 5G technology is harmful to animals as well. Citing a 2019 animal study, Sengupta said that "EMFs released from mobile phones are linked to DNA damage in mice and rats. Not only rats and mice but bees are most affected with such technology. These impulses are said to alter their body temperatures and impair their ability to orient themselves. In short, bees get sick and die."
A 2016 animal study found that EMFs of any frequencies can harm the nervous system.
The Quint also found a 2020 research which examined how EMFs affect organisms like snails and frogs. The researchers determined that it is not clear if these frequencies have negative effects on animals.
Are All Claims Relevant?
Since the release of 5G and its ongoing implementation in India, a number of claims citing health risks associated with the technology have been doing the rounds on social media.
Dr Rajesh Deshpandey told The Quint that while all these claims are relevant, there isn't enough data to prove whether 5G is harmful and to what extent it can cause health issues. "Therefore, to give a statement would be premature at this stage, it is important that we conduct more trials and study the effects in detail, only then we can determine whether these claims are right or wrong."
The Quint asked Deshpandey if 5G technology can cause headaches, migraines, and dizziness. "No, there is no proof behind these claims," he responded.
Echoing his thoughts, Dr L V Krishnan told The Hindu that testing on some rats or humans is not enough. "Ill effects of radiation often shows up after a time lag. Even if humans are shown to be safe, the effects on flora and fauna must be comprehensively studied," he said.
'Will Continue to Fight'
Veeresh Malik, social worker, who also filed the lawsuit alongside Juhi Chawla told The Quint that he has been asking the government "whether 5G is harmful, but not getting a yes, no or maybe in this case,” adding that he will continue to fight this case.
Malik said that our health is worth more than Rs 20 lakhs, especially if put to a good cause. "Juhi, I and the others who are joining us shall continue with our crusade for safety pertaining to radiation."
"We shall continue seeking information from our government on whether the new technologies and their implementation are safe for us or not," he added.