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Delhi High Court to reduce Juhi Chawla’s fine in 5G suit to Rs 2 lakh – The Indian Express

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday proposed to reduce the costs imposed on actor Juhi Chawla and two other plaintiffs in the 5G lawsuit by a single bench last year from Rs 20 Lakh to Rs 2 Lakh, albeit with a condition that she would have to do some service for the public cause given her celebrity status.
Chawla filed an appeal against a single-bench order which in June 2021 dismissed her suit against the introduction of 5G technology in India.  The single bench, in the order dismissing the suit, had said it was filed to gain publicity and imposed a cost of Rs 20 lakh on the three plaintiffs, including Chawla, for “waste of judicial time”.
“We will reduce the costs. We will not completely waive it. We will reduce it substantially but that comes with another condition that considering your client is a celebrity and she has a presence in the public, she should do some public work also. Her image and position should be utilised by the society for some good campaign, good purpose,” said the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh.
The court said that she could do a programme for the Delhi State Legal Services Authority. “The DSLSA would get in touch with her and they could work out one programme which she could feature in and could promote,” it said.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, representing Chawla, submitted that he would seek her instructions on the suggestion made by the court. The matter has been passed over. The hearing in the appeal will take place again later on Tuesday.
Khurshid said that he would speak to her and tell her that it is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Justice Jag Jivan Ram Midha on June 4 had termed the suit as “defective” and “not maintainable” and said the plaint includes “unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous and vexatious averments”, which are liable to be struck down under the Code of Civil Procedure.
The primary argument in the suit was that the government should certify to the public at large that 5G technology will not have any significant adverse effects “on the health, life, organ or limb of adult, child, whether of the present or future generation(s), or to any living organism, or to flora and fauna”.
In the appeal, it has been argued that a plaint is only rejected or returned under the Code of Civil Procedure and can only be dismissed once it has been allowed to be registered as a suit by the court. Chawla and others have also argued that the dismissal was not warranted, especially seeing the national health emergency already facing the nation and that imposition of cost also was “without jurisdiction”.
The single bench in June had also taken note of the disruptions caused during the virtual hearing before it and directed Delhi Police to identify the “unknown miscreants”. Before the hearing, Chawla had shared the link on her Twitter and Instagram accounts and appealed to people to attend the proceedings. Subsequently, the hearing was repeatedly disrupted by unknown persons, who passed comments and sang songs from the actor’s movies.
The appeal states that Chawla is a film star of international renown and her life is already filled with media attention and publicity. “It is rather unfair to opine that notwithstanding her untiring efforts for the last 11 years at fighting cellular radiation from telecommunication devices… her motive to file the plaint before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court was dictated by a motive to garner publicity,” it adds, adding that the virtual link of the court was publicly accessible from the HC website.
Chawla in the appeal has also said that Delhi Police in June asked them to join enquiry on directions of the court in connection with the disruptions which took place in the virtual courtroom on June 2. A detailed response was given to the police, according to the appeal filed before the court.
The suit, citing “scientific studies”, had contended that there is an “invisible enemy”, which is “slowly killing us as a result of this ongoing battle between the network service providers to provide ‘faster’ and ‘wider’” service. It stated that no studies have been conducted with regards to radiofrequency radiation in India, and sought research on the subject.
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