Scrap nuclear liability bill, says Left | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Scrap nuclear liability bill, says Left

The Left parties today said they oppose the nuclear liability bill that seeks to cap and limit the liability for the operator of a nuclear plant and which is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha Monday.

delhi Updated: Mar 13, 2010 19:27 IST

The Left parties on Saturday said they oppose the nuclear liability bill that seeks to cap and limit the liability for the operator of a nuclear plant and which is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha Monday.

The bill, which the Left parties said was "a harmful piece of legislation meant to serve the interests of the US and its nuclear industry", will facilitate nuclear commerce with international power producers.

"This is an outcome of the India-US nuclear deal. The government is seeking to fulfill a hidden commitment to deliver legislation which safeguards the interests of the US at the expense of the safety of the Indian people," a joint statement of the the communist parties said.

The statement was issued by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the All India Forward Bloc.

Although India is not a signatory to the International Atomic Energy Agency's model law on the subject, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, the proposed legislation is similar to that in some respects.

"The bill is illegal and unconstitutional as it ignores the judgments of the Supreme Court of the 'polluter pays principle'. It compromises the right of a citizen to go to court for claiming adequate compensation," the statement said.

"It is a blatant attempt to protect US suppliers of nuclear reactors from claims of liability and compensation. Even if there is a manufacturing defect, which causes a nuclear accident that, can affect the lives of people, there is no liability for the supplier. The clauses of the bill are so devised as to practically make it impossible to assign liability to the supplier," it said.

Government sources say that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen to get the bill passed it parliament without referring it to a standing committee.

The passage of the bill without managing support in favour of it seems difficult. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal are also opposing the bill.

Private companies in the US are not willing to sell any nuclear equipment to India without such a law in place.