Scrap Nuclear Liability Bill

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Left parties, The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party and All India Forward Bloc, have issued the following statement: The Manmohan Singh Government is introducing a Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill in the Lok Sabha. This is a harmful piece of legislation meant to serve the interests of the United States and its nuclear industry. This is also an outcome of the Indo-US nuclear deal.The Government is seeking to fulfill a hidden commitment to deliver a legislation which safeguards the interests of the United States at the expense of the safety of the Indian people.

 

The Nuclear Liability Bill needs to be scrapped because:

1. The Bill is illegal and unconstitutional as it ignores the judgements of the Supreme Court of the "polluter pays principle".It compromises the right of a citizen to go to court for claiming adequate compensation.

2. It is a blatant attempt to protect US suppliers of nuclear reactors from claims of liability and compensation. Even if there is a manufacturing defect which causes a nuclear accident that can affect the lives of lakhs of people, there is no liability for the supplier.The clauses of the bill are so devised as to practically make it impossible to assign liability to the supplier.

3. All the liability falls upon the operator in India, which is the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. The operators liability is fixed at Rs. 500 crores while the overall liability is capped at around Rs.2200 crores. This means the Government will have to foot the bill for the rest of the amount. Since the NPCL is a public sector enterprise, the whole bill is to be footed by the Indian tax payer while the US supplier goes scot free.

4. The limiting of liability at around Rs. 2200 crore is totally uncalled for. In the Bhopal gas accident, the total compensation paid out by Union Carbide was just $ 470 million (Rs. 2152 crore). For a nuclear accident, which will involve loss of many more lives and grievous long term health consequences for many more, this is a serious attack on the rights of Indian citizens.

The Left parties strongly oppose the introduction of this Bill in Parliament. They appeal to all parties to reject this Bill which is detrimental to the interests of the Indian people.