Nuclear Liability Bill faces fresh hurdles from BJP, Left | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Nuclear Liability Bill faces fresh hurdles from BJP, Left

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2010 10:00 IST

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The Nuclear Liability Bill faced fresh roadblocks on Sunday with the BJP and the Left parties asserting that they would oppose any dilution of the suppliers' liability.

Both the BJP and the Left parties have apprehensions over an amendment in the Bill, which they feel protects foreign companies in the event of a nuclear accident caused by gross negligence or defective supplies on their part.

"We are very clear that the scope of Clause 17 (B) (relating to suppliers' liability) cannot be diluted," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

"We need that to be addressed and if it is being diluted by this amendment which the government has cleared in the Cabinet, BJP will stand up and object to it," she added.

The Left was categorical that it would not give its nod to such a change in the text of the Civil Nuclear Bill.

"I do not think the Left can agree with these new changes that if it is an intentional one or wilful one, only then operators can take recourse to demand (liability) from suppliers. We do not think it is a fair and valid argument," CPI leader D Raja said.

One of the 18 amendments cleared by the Union Cabinet suggests that an accident in a nuclear plant should have occurred as a consequence of an act done with an "intent" if an operator has to claim damages from the supplier.

The amended Clause 17 says "the operator of a nuclear installation, after paying the compensation for nuclear damage in accordance with Section 6, shall have a right of recourse where --

(a) such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing;

(b) the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of supplier or his employees, done with the intent to cause nuclear damage, and such act includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services;

(c) the nuclear incident has resulted from the act of commission or ommission of an individual done with intent to cause nuclear damage."

The BJP and the Left feel that the mention of "intent" in the sub-clauses (b) and (c) regarding an accident may give a route to suppliers to escape responsibility because it would be difficult to prove intent in any such mishap.

This amendment in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, is likely to be moved along with 17 other amendments in the Lok Sabha on August 25.