Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, on Sunday said the pressure of the ‘hidden hand’ of nuclear vendors’ remains on the government to bypass the civil liability for nuclear damages act, passed by Parliament. He said if the Centre was planning to permit the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to enter into arrangement with US nuclear vendors by waiving the “right to recourse”, it would be contrary to provisions of the liability laws and compromise state revenue.
“The government’s intention to dilute the right of recourse and make it dependent on an agreement has continued,” said Jaitley, referring to reports that the written contract between the NPCIL and the American vendors would contain a clause to the effect that NPCIL has abdicated and waived off the ‘right of recourse’ as provided under section 17 of the Act.
Jaitley, closely involved in the enactment of the law, released documents to support his claim. “Having been associated in negotiations between government and opposition when the bill was re-drafted, I have not the least doubt that for invoking section 17(b) of the act the existence of an agreement in writing under section 17(a) of the act is not a condition precedent,” he added.