Friday, July 2, 2010

Peoples / Public Consultation

CIVIL LIABILITY FOR NUCLEAR DAMAGE BILL, 2010

Peoples / Public Consultation

3:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Wednesday, 7th July, 2010
Convocation Hall, University of Mumbai,
Fort, Mumbai- 400001.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010, already tabled before Parliament, now referred
to the standing committee, will have profound impact on the democratic and constitutional rights
of the people and environment of our country. The Bill proposes to cap the amount of
compensation in case of a nuclear accident at $ 450 Million, which incidentally is below the
meagre amount of $ 470 Million that was set aside in the aftermath of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
While India plans to increase its installed capacity of nuclear power by 60,000 to 80,000 MW by
the year 2030, it will meet only about 5 % of the country's projected energy needs. Yet nuclear
power generation will receive subsidies to the tune of $100 Billion from the government. The
minimum estimates by the industry on the profits to be made stand at $175 Billion. This
skewered economics is indicative of the strong industrial lobby that is pushing the nuclear
liability bill through parliament.

The dreams of such quantum leaps in nuclear power capacity are associated with a greatly
increased risk of nuclear accidents from cost-cutting and profit maximization by private
operators. Dangerous falsehoods seem to be gaining ground that nuclear power is cheap,
clean, climate-friendly and a safe energy option.

The ‘community’ in the case of the nuclear industry will be exceptionally large because of the
widespread, long-term, and generational impact of radioactive contamination of air, soil and
water. The nuclear liability bill ensures that the clean up costs and the health burden of a
nuclear leak or accident, even if we were to simplistically assume that these can ever be
properly calculated, would have to be borne by the government. Essentially, therefore, the bill
seeks to shift the financial burden to the taxpayer, that is, from the perpetrators of the crime to
the victim.
The nuclear liability bill undermines the very basis of Indian democracy. It violates the ‘Polluter
Pays’ principle and the ‘Precautionary Principle’ and violates in words of the former Attorney
General of India, Soli Sorabjee, 'the Right to Life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of
India'. The bill also goes against significant Supreme Court Judgments which have ruled that
hazardous and dangerous industries owe an ‘absolute and non-delegable’ duty to the
community to ensure safety.
The tactics adopted in and out of parliament confirm fears that the Government of India, intends
to torpedo this legislation with minimal public debate. The single voice that dominates is that of
the nuclear lobby, impatient to have the bill, the only remaining hurdle in the path of opening up
India’s multi-billion nuclear market, passed. The voice of the people of India, whose health, wellbeing and civil rights will be directly compromised should the bill go through, is made out to be silent.

The Bill has now been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on science and
Technology for recommendation before it is presented in the monsoon session of the
parliament. Concerned citizens and legal experts in India do not believe that this Bill should go
through without considering public and expert opinion, as it is prima facie unconstitutional.

After several attempts to convince the Standing Committee, it has finally asked people to send in their opinions and views or depose before the committee in Delhi before the 15th of July. The time offered is clearly too limited for a large democracy like ours, making it difficult for real impacted people to go to Delhi, instead of the committee coming to their respective cities and keeping them out of the preview completely as the advertisement was only placed in English dailies.

In this limited time, Human Rights Law Network, Greenpeace and Department of Law,
University of Mumbai invite you to participate in a Public Consultation of Democratic Rights
Organizations, Women’s organisations, Students, Lawyers, Environmental Groups, Academic
institutions, Professionals,Impacted individuals and other sections of society to collectively
understand and discuss the issues of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 scheduled
at the Convocation Hall, University of Mumbai on the 7th of July 2010 from 3.PM onwards.

For further inquiries please get in touch with HRLN - Gayatri Singh (9820091871) and Kranti L.C
(9757232347) and Greenpeace - Deven (9731399685).

Human Rights Law Network

409, 4th Flr, Prospect Chamber,
D. N, Road, Fort,Mumbai – 01
Ph:22024467/68
Fax : 22024469
Email Id – kranti@hrln.org

Greenpeace International
15/A, 3rd Flr, Laxmi Bhavan,
3rd Lane, Khar Sabway road,
Santacruz (east)
Ph : Deven - 9731399685
deven.digwal@greenpeace.org

Department of Law,
University of Mumbai,
Fort, Mumbai – 400 00

1 comment:

Deven said...

Sir, I'm Devén Digwal from Greenpeace and the contact number posted on your blog is not mine. Plz email me on devén.digwal@Greenpeace.org for you wish to put the correct contact information