A bill to provide limited liability in case of a nuclear accident was introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday amid protests and walkout by Opposition NDA and Left parties, who described the proposed law as “unconstitutional”.
The Civil Liability For Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, whose passage is a key requirement for operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal, was moved by Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan.
The bill will now be discussed in a Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, which is expected to submit its report in two months.
The bill providing for the maximum liability of Rs 500 crore for nuclear plant operator has been criticised for allowing the operator to escape with an abysmal penalty.
CPM’s Basudeb Acharia said the proposed legislation violated Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees right to life.
The members also said the bill compromised with the victim’s right to approach a court for inadequate compensation.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal argued that the MPs could not speak on the merits of the bill at the introduction stage and could only talk about legislative competence of the House on taking up the proposed legislation.