Karnataka HC directs action against cable operators

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The Karnataka high court has directed the state government authorities and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to take action against private internet, television and cable operators responsible for dangling electric, telephone and TV cables in the state capital. “Such pictures (of dangling wires) are common to all cities in India… How are you going to take action?” remarked the two-judge bench, as reported by Bar and Bench.
The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Amruthesh NP who sought directions to authorities to take action against illegal, dangling cable TV, internet, and electric wires in the state citing the danger posed by the same to the public at large.
“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,” said the court.
The Court also cited the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and said that 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 two-judge bench led by chief justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and justice SS Magadum also stated that the right to have public streets and footways in usable condition is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21. Therefore, it would be the duty and obligation of BBMP to remove such dangling illegal wires in accordance with law. The next hearing on the matter has been posted for March 19.
Over 400 people have lost their lives in Bengaluru due to electrocution in the last few years. Despite that, 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 told the court.
Loosely hanging overhead cable wires have been a serious nuisance, in not just Bengaluru, but in cities across the country. Not only do they endanger the lives of the pedestrians, but have also created difficulties in enabling easy access to ambulances and fire tenders in certain areas.
In January, the Delhi high court also expressed concerns over the issue, following a similar plea regarding haphazard overhead wires in the Chandni Chowk area of the national capital. It had directed Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd (MTNL), BSES, North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (North MCD) to get these wires removed from the site or face contempt action

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