BJP opposes amendment in N-Liability Bill

The party has made it clear that if the government does not not drop its proposed amendment, which it considers as harmful, it would itself move an amendment.

In a note to the government, the main opposition party expressed objection to the addition of the word "and" in the proposed legislation after Clause 17(a) dealing with the right of recourse of an operator of a nuclear plant and a subsequent sub-clause that deals with the suppliers obligations in case of an accident.

Clause 17 says that "The operator of a nuclear installation shall have a right of recourse where -- (a) such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing".

The BJP contended that the "efficacy and utility of Clause 17 (b)  on the supplier is completely destroyed by the Supplier not agreeing to an agreement in writing. Thus, what Clause 17(b) gives as a protection to the operator, the word 'and' snatches it away".

The report of Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which examined the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill 2010, recommended that Clause 17(a) which reads may end with the word "and".

It also proposed modification of Clause 17(b) to say "the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services".

The Committee also recommended that the operator "must secure his interest through appropriate provisions in the contract with the supplier".

"The inclusion of 'and' in the amended draft Bill weakens clause 17(a). It appears the word was clumsily added in the Bill," Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

"Since the nuclear power plants are to be operated only by the government or government companies, it would be to our own advantage to delete the word 'and'," said the BJP note handed over to Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan by party leader Arun Jaitley.

"If the government does not agree to the demand, BJP could move an amendment when the Bill comes to the Parliament in this session, Swaraj said. Chavan did not give any assurance, sources said.

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