The amendments to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 proposed by the Government not only goes against the grain of the crucial recommendations of the Standing Committee, but also seeks to further dilute the provisions of the original bill to protect the interests of the foreign suppliers of nuclear equipment and domestic private players.
The new formulation of Clause 17 (b) suggested by the Government reads as follows:
“(b) the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of supplier or his employees, done with the intent to cause nuclear damage, and such act includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services;”
This makes any liability on the part of the suppliers, for supplying defective or sub-standard equipment or material, contingent upon proof that it was “consequence of an act…done with the intent to cause nuclear damage…”. With this amendment, it will become impossible to ascribe liability to the supplier.
This goes against the Standing Committee formulation of 17 (b), which does not require any such proof:
“(b) the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services.”
Thus, in the name of removing the “and” in 17 (a), as suggested by the Standing Committee, the Government has rewritten 17 (b), effectively throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The formulation of 17 (b) proposed in the amendment is in fact worse than the provision contained in the original bill.
The dubious intent of the Government is further exposed by the addition of Clause 7 (1) proposed as an amendment, through which it seeks to “assume full liability for a nuclear installation not operated by it” (i.e. private nuclear installations) even as the Standing Committee had categorically recommended “that there will be no private operator of nuclear installation”. This paves the way for a massive subsidization of the private players in nuclear power by the Government, as and when they are allowed to operate.
All this is clearly being done under pressure from the foreign nuclear suppliers and domestic corporate lobbies. The Left Parties call upon all political parties to unitedly oppose these amendments proposed by the Government to protect the interests of the people and the country.
Prakash Karat [Communist Party of India (Marxist)]
A. B. Bardhan [Communist Party of India]
Debabrata Biswas [All India Forward Bloc0
Abani Roy [Revolutionary Socialist Party]