The Karnataka government has banned the use of cellphones by those below 16 years of age in educational institutions as they are harmful to their health and a nuisance in classrooms. A circular will soon be issued to bar shopkeepers, handset manufacturers, and telecom operators from selling phones to them. All institutions upto pre-university colleges would be asked to implement the ban, which will also be applicable to schools affiliated to the CBSE and ICSE.
Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj Horatti has been quoted as saying that parents would be charged with implementing the ban at home, too.
Questions: Is the ban practical, or will it end up becoming yet another tool of harassment for the State? Is this the kind of retrograde step that a high-tech state must take? Does Karnataka have the wherewithal to implement the ban? Will the ban pass muster in a court of law if it is contested by the cellphone manufacturers, service providers or dealers? Are there any scientifically establishments facts to prove that the moment a child passes his or her 16th birthday the effect of cellphones ceases on them? Why 16, why not 60?
Is there a better way to prevent cellphone misuse than a blanket ban on their sale or use? If cellphones in schools are a strict no-no because of the nuisance they create, how much longer before they are banned from restaurants, airports, clubs, theatres, planes, train, buses…?