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Oxford, Harvard minds helped N-Bill

delhi Updated: Aug 29, 2010 00:19 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times
nuclear liability Bill

The contentious Nuclear Liability Bill, that was finally passed with bipartisan support in Parliament earlier this week, got a helping hand from Harvard and Oxford universities.

A group of law students — all of them Indians — from the world's best institutes had briefed the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Science and Technology with suggestions to make the nuclear damages Bill legally sound.

The suggestions impressed the MPs so much that a senior BJP leader called up a member of the group for consultation just before the final agreement with the government was struck.

The scholars were consulted on which of the four amendments being discussed with the government on clause 17 of the draft Bill would be best.

Another senior leader appreciated that the students had come to depose before the committee at their own expense: "They were here to visit the country and came readily to share their knowledge of international law with us."

Arghya Sengupta, Shivprasad Swaminathan, Sanhita Ambast and Prashant Reddy are part of the group that wants to use its legal skills to assist Indian policy-making. And their advice is free.

"There is a desire to be engaged with India and its policies," Sengupta told HT.

He feels that in the absence of bipartisan academic inputs, Indian legislators have to depend on the ideologically-coloured inputs of NGOs and industry bodies.

Some of these scholars had earlier been consulted by the the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Office of Profit and Karnataka's Public Health Bills, when they were students of National Law School University, Bangalore.