The Supreme Court on Monday refused to give any direction to the government on the appointment of an independent regulatory body to oversee nuclear plants, saying it cannot "convert this court into Parliament".
The apex court, however, kept the issue open by asking those against the construction of such plants to come out with the solution on nuclear safety through a "public debate" and assured them that it will "look into it".
A bench headed by chief justice S H Kapadia said it was "conscious" of the fact that the matter was important as it concerns Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution but expressed reservation in looking into the safety aspect of all nuclear plants for its lack of expertise.
"So far as safety of public is concerned, Article 21 is in our mind which can certainly be argued but for other aspect we cannot convert this court into Parliament," the bench, also comprising justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, said.
The apex court, at the same time, asked the petitioners to place before it within four weeks the models adopted by United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada other countries on the appointment of regulatory body, independent of the government and establishment, to overlook the nuclear safety.
"You have a public debate and come out with a solution we will look into it," the bench said.
However, when advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO Common Cause and others who have filed a PIL on the issue, made reference of Lok Pal Bill during the hearing, the bench asked him "not to mix up two things".
"Don't compare this issue with Lokpal. Lokpal is different," the bench said.