New Delhi: Greenpeace pointed out that if the Prime Minister was really concerned about foreign nuclear suppliers trying to escape liability in case of an accident, he should also be demanding a review of the Rules notified by the DAE on 11th November, 2011 under the Nuclear Liability Act, 2010. In an opinion secured by Greenpeace from former Attorney General and Constitutional expert, Soli Sorabjee on the veracity of Rules notified; he was clear that the current rules were ultra vires provisions of the Act related to Supplier Liability (1).
Specifically speaking on the legal query of whether the Rules should also provide that the contract between the Operator and the Supplier would be subject to the Nuclear Liability Act, 2010? Mr Sorabjee’s response was that “This is not strictly necessary because the Nuclear Liability Act which is the municipal law of India is binding and will prevail over the CSC. However it would be desirable if the same is done by way of abundant caution.” (2)
Pointing to the discrepancy in response from the Prime Minister, Karuna Raina, campaigner with Greenpeace said, “The foreign suppliers and the powerful foreign lobby - whether they’re the Russian, French or American, have been pushing the Indian Government to dilute the Nuclear Liability Act to let them off the hook in case of any accident. This act of the NPCIL shows that the DAE is not capable of safeguarding the interest of the Indian people. In light of Fukushima, it is unimaginable that the Prime Minister would allow this illegality to take place.”
Greenpeace has also launched a drive to crowd fund a public service advertisement to draw attention of parliamentarians, political parties and citizens of the country to stop the dilution of the Nuclear Liability Act via the insidious Rules that the DAE has notified. (3)
“One in twenty(4) Indians today live in the shadow of a nuclear plant. We cannot allow their safety and their right to justice to be snatched away by the real foreign hand. We urge the Prime Minister to do what is right by citizens of India and not for the vested foreign interest’”, said Ms Raina.
Note to editor
1- Reported by The Hindu: ‘Nuclear liability rules ultra vires’ http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2709934.ece?homepage=true
2- Soli Sorabjee’s opinion:
3- Greenpeace Advt: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/What-We-Do/Nuclear-Unsafe/ForeignHand/
4- Note: The total population which is living within 75km from 7 operational sites in India (including Koodankulam) comes to appox 56 million.
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