Remove ‘intent’ from N-Bill: BJP | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Remove ‘intent’ from N-Bill: BJP

BJP sought to step up pressure on the government on Monday over the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, asking it to revert to the agreed language of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2010 23:34 IST
Vikas Pathak

BJP sought to step up pressure on the government on Monday over the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, asking it to revert to the agreed language of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology. It also charged that the latest addition of the word “intent” was tried slyly before the Standing Committee, which had rejected it.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan met BJP leader Arun Jaitley to discuss the draft Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, which is again a bone of contention after the government added the word “intent” to clause 17 (b) — which talks about supplier liability — implying that the supplier will not be liable for an accident unless there was an intent on his part to cause it.

Jaitley told Chavan that the government should revert to the original draft approved by the Standing Committee.

The committee’s draft had provided for supplier liability under clause 17 (b) in the case of latent or patent defect, or substandard material, or defective equipment, or gross negligence.

BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who was also a member of the Committee — said that an unsigned note circulated with the official packet of Parliamentary papers on June 8, 2010, to the Standing Committee members had inserted “done with the intent to cause nuclear damage” in Clause 17 (b) as a suggested amendment.

When quizzed by the Committee, Rudy added, the Atomic Energy Commission secretary agreed it was a mistake and said there was no such amendment the cabinet wanted to propose. “The same word has been brought in again, though the committee had rejected the suggestion outright in June itself,” Rudy said.

While objecting to the change, Rudy said it would be “very difficult” for the BJP to support the Bill if the newly-introduced word “intent” —which will anyway be impossible to prove — was retained to bail out the supplier.

Asked whether foreign companies would wish to engage in nuclear commerce with India with the sword of liability hanging over their head, a senior BJP leader said that huge demand from India will change the dynamics of the market — to a buyers’ market rather than a supplier’s — and companies would still want to engage in trade for the huge business they could do here.