Plea to bind Russia under nuclear damage law

September 17th, 2012 - 11:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court was moved Monday seeking a declaration that irrespective of any agreement with the Indian government, Russia would be bound by the nuclear damage liability law in case of an accident at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

The reactors for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant have been supplied by Russia, which has been exempted from the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, in the event of any mishap.

“Issue appropriate writ declaring that the nuclear suppliers of the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu would be bound by the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, irrespective of any agreement or undertaking to the contrary,” said the petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Common Cause.

The petition, which has also been backed by the a former secretary to the government E.A.S. Sarma and IT professional G. Sunderrajan, has also sought the declaration that Russia would be bound by the principles of polluter pays and holds absolute liability in case of an accident.

The declaration sought by the petitioners also included the term that the victims of the any accident would be able to file cases against Russia even if the government or its undertaking, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, failed to act.

The plea asked if the Indian government and Russia claim that “since their agreement regarding Kudankulam nuclear plant was made before 2010 when the Liability act came into force, thus, the said act would not apply to the Kudankulam nuclear plant”.

The petition also challenged rule 24 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules 2011 that had been categorically found by both the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation and former attorney general Soli Sorabjee to be ultra vires of the parent statute (Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010) itself.

It is a settled law that rules cannot lay down limitations that were not provided in the act, the petition contended.

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