N-liability Bill tabled in LS amid walk out, protest

N-liability Bill tabled in LS amid walk out, protest

The BJP and leftist MPs termed the Bill “illegal and unconstitutional” and staged a walk out. The government later said it hoped that the Bill would be considered by the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session. But the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal, which had earlier opposed the Bill, appeared to be siding with the government on Friday.

“The Bill will go to the concerned parliamentary standing committee, which would deliberate upon it in the next two months. I hope it will come with the report in the monsoon session,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal.
 
Highly-placed sources said the government had decided to introduce the Bill on the last day of the session in order to send out a positive signal to Washington ahead of the Indo-US strategic dialogue on June 3 next. The opposition parties are opposed to the Bill, as they believe the cap on liability would only serve the interests of the US companies and that the total maximum liability was not adequate considering the extent of the devastation a nuke mishap could trigger.

As soon as Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan rose to move the Bill, Basudeb Acharia of the CPM said the proposed legislation would violate the citizens’ right to life as enshrined in the Constitution’s Article 21. He said the Bill violates the ‘polluter-pays’ principle laid down by the Supreme Court. Gurudas Dasgupta of the CPI and Murli Manohar Joshi too echoed him.

Bansal and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee intervened and stated that the Opposition MPs could only comment on the legislative competence of the Bill at the stage of its introduction and not on the merit of the proposed legislation.
Speaker Meira Kumar also asked the MPs to speak only on the legislative competence of the Bill. But Yashwant Sinha said he had the right according to the Rule 72 (I) of the Procedure of the House. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said that she had expected the government to modify the Bill.
DH News Service

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