BJP critical of govt`s ‘sleight of hand’ in N-bill

BJP today extended support to the civil nuclear liability bill but was critical of the "sleight of hand" of the government in drafting the law and its attempts to "hustle" it through in Parliament now.

Updated: Aug 25, 2010, 19:05 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP today extended support to
the civil nuclear liability bill but was critical of the
"sleight of hand" of the government in drafting the law and
its attempts to "hustle" it through in Parliament now.

Initiating the debate on the Civil Liability for
Nuclear Damages Bill, 2010 in the Lok Sabha, senior party
leader Jaswant Singh also asked the government to take the
larger concerns of Indians on board and not those of a
"smaller" US market.

Referring to various attempts by the government to
introduce contentious clauses in the Bill on which it had to
backtrack, Singh said the government was indulging in a
"sleight of hand" by first introducing the word `and` and
later `intent` in the draft bill.

"It is a sleight of hand and trickery. First there
was and then intent. It is simpler and easier to take
Parliament along," he said.

Opposition parties had contended that insertion of the
word "and" between sub-clauses `a` and `b` of Clause 17
without the Parliamentary Standing Committee`s concurrence had
sought to dilute the liability of the suppliers in case of a
nuclear accident.

Similarly, they had also attacked the provision
"intent" in the same clause with regard to suppliers or their
employees role in an accident.

Referring to US President Barrack Obama`s oncoming
visit to India this year end, Singh sought to suggest that the
government was trying to "hustle" through with the legislation
before the event.

"Why are you hustling the Committee, Parliament and
the issue. It is otherwise a very important issue. India is
not South Korea. We don`t have to follow their example,"
he said.

The former External Affairs Minister said while the
government signed the agreement in 2005, it was rushing to get
the Bill cleared in 2010 just before the visit of the US
President Barack Obama.

Singh said his party would support the Bill if the
government accepted its amendments. "Give us more candour," he
added.

-PTI