New Delhi:As the amendments to the nuclear liability bill triggered a fresh political storm, the Congress on Sunday said the government was open to take opposition concerns onboard to build the widest possible consensus on the matter.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari termed the Bill as "work in progress" and said the government has always been open to address the legitimate concerns on the draft legislation.
"It (Bill) is a work in progress and I think if at all there are any legitimate concerns, the government has always been open and would be open to taking those concerns onboard because that is what is the essence of any Parliamentary democracy," he told reporters here. However, Tewari sought to make a distinction between criminal and civil liability and pointed out that the Bill in question dealt with "strict civil liability".
"Allow me to add a caveat by saying we need to make a distinction between civil and criminal liability. This Bill essentially deals with strict civil liability. It does not preclude any of the options which get triggered off if, god forbid, an accident does take place, in terms of the criminal liability aspect of it," Tewari said.
He pointed out that consultations were held with the leaders of the opposition and their concerns were taken onboard by the government.
"Consultations were held with the leaders of the Opposition. Their concerns were taken onboard and the government, because it is an important Bill, has been endeavouring to find the widest possible consensus on this civil liability bill," Tewari said. A fresh controversy broke out after the government circulated the amendments to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, which were approved by the Union Cabinet.
The amendments appear to dilute the right of recourse of an operator to seek damages from supplier of nuclear equipment in the event of an accident. The Bill is expected to be moved in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing on Wednesday. PTI