The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant any interim stay on the enhanced licence fee imposed by civic body MCD on mobile phone towers installed by cellular operators in the capital.
A bench of Justices R M Lodha and A K Patnaik, however, directed that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi shall not encash the FDR deposited towards the enhanced fee by the operators pursuant to a directive by the Delhi high court.
Declining the plea for interim stay by the cellular operators, the apex court said that it would not be appropriate for it to interfere in the matter at this juncture as the very validity of the hike is under scrutiny by the high court.
The High Court had on June 4 stayed its single bench order for constituting a committee of technical and medical experts to examine potential health hazards from over 5,000 mobile phone towers in the capital and refused to allow MCD seal 2,952 'illegal' towers in the city.
The bench had given the order on an appeal filed by the MCD challenging a single judge's order on setting up the committee and allowing cellular companies to operate their towers by depositing Rs 100,000 instead of Rs 500,000 in the form of FDR with the high court Registry as fixed by it.
Earlier, the high court had on May 13 restrained the civic body from sealing 'illegal' mobile phone towers after cellular operators approached it challenging the decision of the MCD to seal the towers of the operators who did not deposit the increased fee of Rs 500,000.
The municipal body had started the sealing exercise after the deadline for operators to apply for regularisation by paying the hiked amount had expired.
MCD had said that out of 5,364 towers in the city, only 2,412 had requisite permission and the remaining 2,952 were illegal in all the city's 12 municipal zones.
On February 9, the MCD brought in a new policy on mobile towers revising the guidelines for cell towers and hiked the amount payable by the service providers to the MCD for installing a tower from Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000.