Dangling electric, telephone and television cables are a common sight in cities across India, the Karnataka High Court quipped on Wednesday directing Karnataka government authorities and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to act against private internet, television, and cable operators responsible for such hanging cables in Bengaluru.
A Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice SS Magadum was particularly wary of cable tv wires.
“The real issue here is about dangling wires of Cable Television Networks and Internet Networks…..Without seeking permission from BBMP, Cable TV networks cannot have dangling wires on public street or foot ways,” the Court said.
The Court further said that under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 even if the operator has secured the permission of BBMP, the latter can still ask the operator to remove the said cable or shift or alter the position of the cable.
The Court was hearing a plea by advocate Amruthesh NP seeking directions to authorities to take action against illegal, dangling Cable TV/internet/electric wires in the State citing the danger posed by the same to the public at large.
The petitioner in the matter had annexed pictures of dangling wires in the city of Bengaluru.
When the matter was taken up for hearing, the Court expressed concern over the photographs highlighting dangling cable wires.
“On the face of it, the pictures appear to be dangerous to pedestrians and vehicles on the footways,” the Court remarked.
The Bench was further of the opinion that right to have public streets and foot ways in usable condition is fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21. Therefore, it would be the duty and obligation of BBMP to take remove such dangling illegal wires in accordance with law, the Court clarified.
“Such pictures (of dangling wires) are common to all cities in India…..How are you going to take action?”, remarked the Bench.
The petitioner pointed out that over 400 deaths have occurred in Bengaluru city due to electrocution in the last few years. No action was taken against illegal buildings under high tension lines, which were also a great threat to the residents living in such buildings, the petitioner claimed while providing data to buttress his claims.
Claiming that the authorities have failed to take action against cable operators, the petitioner alleged that even the elected representatives like corporators and MLAs have become mute spectators.
The matter will be heard next on March 19.