The government on Friday, sought to distance itself from the note ciculated at a parliamentary standing committee meeting on the Nuclear Liability Bill, saying the political authority had given no sanction for the proposal which provided for dilution of a key clause.
After attack from BJP and Left Parties over the proposed move which was later withdrawn, Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan said amendments to the Bill could be undertaken only after the cabinet approval.
"...amendments can be accepted only by the government, that is the Cabinet. No decision can be taken without consulting the government," he said when asked about the incident during a discussion with women journalists here.
Terming it as an "unfortunate development", he said, "this (the note) has no official sanction of the political authority".
On June 8, Department of Atomic Energy Secretary Srikumar Banerji had circulated a note at the meeting of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which provided for deletion of clause 17(b).
The clause 17 (b) proposes that the nuclear plant operator would have legal recourse if a nuclear accident results from the "wilful act or gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services or of his employee."
In the face of stiff opposition from BJP and Left, Banerjee withdrew the note at the next meeting of the committee on June 15 while expressing regret for moving it.
Chavan said that "without coming to the political authority, this note was circulated".
He, however, parried questions on whether any action would be taken against Banerji for this.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad, who was also present, said "it was a very serious matter. Is that how the government is functioning"?