Greenpeace: Next Bhopal would be DAE’s fault

DAE should amend Rules for Nuclear Liability Act as per Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendations, demand Activists

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Press release - December 2, 2012
New Delhi/Mumbai/Chennai, December 3, 2012: In a statement issued on the 28th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy, Greenpeace cautioned Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of repeating mistakes that lead to mismanagement of Bhopal disaster. The environmental watchdog is demanding that the DAE should amend Rules for the Nuclear Liability Act as per the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation.

According to Karuna Raina, Greenpeace nuclear energy campaigner, “The Company responsible for Bhopal Gas tragedy was allowed to escape liability because there was no strong law that made them accountable. Diluting the supplier liability clause in the Nuclear Liability Act would result in a repeat of Bhopal”. The Rules which were drafted by DAE and notified last year by the government were criticised for diluting the supplier liability clause in the Nuclear Liability Act. [1]

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation tabled its report in the Lok Sabha last session stating that the “Rules being delegated legislation should be consistent with the substantial provisions of the Act and should not contain any limitations or excesses which are not contemplated under the Act”. The report slammed DAE for its ‘lackadaisical’ approach towards framing the Rules for the Act. Former Attorney General for India, Soli Sorabjee, had earlier stated in his opinion that the Rules are - Ultra Vires the Act.

“Despite the opinion of eminent jurists as well as the Parliamentary Standing Committee, the DAE and the nuclear establishment seem to be dragging its feet on amending the Rules.  In a Parliamentary democracy, the executive cannot override the concerns presented by the Parliamentary Standing Committee”, said Ms. Raina. [2]

In August last year, Dr. Manmohan Singh raised an important question of whether the law of the land overwrites Intergovernmental Agreements that grant countries waiver from supplier liability. Dr. Singh’s question was not only answered by the Attorney General for India, Mr. G.E. Vahanavati, but also opinioned by the Supreme Court that any intergovernmental agreements that do not conform to the law of the land would become void. [3] [4]

Greenpeace demands that the DAE should implement the recommendations made by the Lok Sabha’s Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation and amend the Rules.

Notes for Editor

1-      http://barandbench.com/brief/2/2738/standing-committee-tables-report-on-civil-liability-for-nuclear-damage-rules-2011-recommendations-include-removing-restriction-on-liability-amount-and-liability-period

2-      http://www.indianexpress.com/news/key-change-in-nliability-drowns-in-monsoon-session/1002239/0

3-      http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-11-01/india/34856330_1_nuclear-liability-kudankulam-nuclear-power-corporation

4-      http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/what-is-the-impact-of-kudankulam-liability-waiver-on-exchequer-asks-court/article3965050.ece

For more information contact:

Karuna Raina, Greenpeace Nuclear Energy Campaigner: 09650111955,

Hozefa Merchant, Media Officer, 09819592410,

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