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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Indian Parliament passes Civil Nuclear Liability Bill

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Aug 25, IRNA -- Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) Wednesday passed the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill.

Ending months of wrangling between treasury benches and the opposition, the Lok Sabha passed the nuclear liability bill after government dropped the contentious provision of 'intent' in case of accidents, adopting a BJP amendment paving the way for nuclear commerce with the world.

The Civil Liability for the Nuclear Damages Bill, 2010, was adopted by the House by a voice vote after it rejected a CPI(M) amendment that sought to fix the liability cap on suppliers in case of accidents at Rs.10,000 crore instead of the Rs.1,500 crore proposed in the measure, the PTI reported.

18 amendments were made to the proposed atomic law that triples the liability cap on an operator in case of an accident to Rs.1,500 crore from Rs 500 crore.

Moving the Bill, Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan, tabled an amendment to Clause 17(B) which now now does not not have the word 'intent' with regard to suppliers or their employees in causing an accident in a nuclear plant.

The rephrased amendment now reads 'the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of supplier or his employee, which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services.'

The minister said 28 nations having nuclear power generation had the liability law but India and Pakistan were the only two countries which did not have such a law.

Apparently rejecting criticism that the government was hustling with the bill ahead of US President Barrack Obama's visit to the country, he said 'It (liability law) is only for protection of victims...It is certainly not to please any country or any leader.'

He said the law will enable provision of 'upfront compensation' to the victims without any litigation, cutting short jurisdiction of Indian courts. However, it would not bypass any other existing civil or criminal laws.

The House nod came not before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a spirited intervention in the four-hour debate rejecting allegations that the bill was brought to advance the interests of the United States and its corporations.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 213657



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