RTI Judgement Series: Mobile tower erected without any permission
Moneylife Digital Team 20 June 2013

Reliance Infratel erected a mobile tower with power genset on the rooftop of a building in Delhi. There was no record of any permission, except a deposit of Rs1 lakh given to MCD. This is the 117th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the additional commissioner for engineering at Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide information related with erection of mobile tower on rooftop of a building to the applicant and the Commission on steps taken before 10 June 2009.


While giving this judgement on 19 September 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, said, “...it is possible that the cell tower has never been given any permission, and no stability certificate may have been given. It appears that the MCD officials would be colluding and illegal cell tower being in existence.”


New Delhi resident BB Khurana, on 6 October 2008, sought information regarding installation of mobile phone tower on rooftop along with generator set by Reliance Infratel from the Public Information Officer (PIO) and superintending engineer, MCD. Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act and the reply provided by the PIO...


1. Please give the copies of all affidavits, correspondence etc with Reliance Infocomm from the day one of request to final orders from your office.

PIO's reply: As per the records available with Building Department, West Zone.  The file for permission to install telecom tower on the terrace of property noFD-38, Tagore Garden was submitted to this office on dated 5 January 2004 vide diary no3947 and amount of Rs1 lakh was deposited vide G-8 No440014 dated 16 January 2004. Best efforts have been made to trace the file but the same could not be traced.


2. Please give copy of permission along with diary number and dispatch no. of your office, since you were the Sanctioning Authority.   

PIO's reply: As above


3. Since you had followed the norms issued vide the circular no. TP/G/5462/03 dated 20/11/03.  Please give your observations on point 7 of the said circular for FD-38 Tagore Garden, New Delhi-110027.       

PIO's reply: As above


4. You are further requested to give all the copies of circulars for installation to Cellular Mobile Phone before date or after date of installation of Reliance Tower of FD-38 Tagore Garden, New Delhi 110027.

PIO's reply: Photocopies had already been supplied.


Khurana, the applicant, not satisfied with the reply provided by the PIO, filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “the concerned file related to case is not available, documents giving sanction to be obtained from the party concerned which has installed the telecom tower. The executive engineer (B)/WZ is directed that all copies of correspondence with Reliance Infratel, which has since installed a cellular mobile tower, be obtained and copy of the same be provided to the appellant by 29 December 2008.”


Still not satisfied with the order from the FAA, the applicant approached the Commission with his second appeal.


During the hearing before Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, the PIO stated that the file relating to the installation of cell tower antenna on the roof terrace of SF of the property no.FD-38, Tagore Garden, New Delhi was not available. There was no permission on record but there was only record of Rs1 lakh deposited to the public authority on 16 January 2004.


“Based on these facts,” Mr Gandhi noted, “it is possible that the cell tower has never been given any permission, and no stability certificate may have been given. It appears that the MCD officials would be colluding and illegal cell tower being in existence.”


The PIO also showed a letter addressed to the manager of Reliance Infratel stating that the tower is in existence without any approval from MCD. This letter was dated 19 May 2009 and has stated that if approval is not shown to the MCD within seven days, action would be initiated (against the company).


The PIO further stated that this letter has been given but no action has been taken or initiated so far. 


Mr Gandhi said, “This appears to be a grave matter with an impact on the safety of citizens and it is a very sorry state of affair that MCD is unwilling to do anything.”


While allowing the appeal, the CIC then directed Naresh Kumar, additional commissioner for engineering at MCD, to provide information to Khurana and the Commission on the steps taken in this matter before 10 June 2009. 




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000834/3554


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000834



Appellant                                            : BB Khurana

                                                            New Delhi-110027


Respondent                                        : VR Bansal

                                                              The Suptdg. Engineer-I & PIO

                                                              Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                              Office of the Suptdg. Engineer-I (WZ),

                                                              Vishal Enclave, Rajouri Garden,

                                                              New Delhi-110027.

nagesh kini
1 decade ago
Thank you for this report.
We, at Mogul Lane, Mahim Mumbai, are seriously opposing the installation of a mobile tower within the compound of the Telephone Colony in thickly residential residential area.
We have immediate STOP WORK order from the GM MTNL who has approved the installation.
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