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Tuesday 6 December 2011

N-regulator: SC will not intervene, says can’t act as House

 N-regulator: SC will not intervene, says can’t act as House

Declaring that the “Supreme Court will remain the Supreme Court, and cannot be converted into Parliament”, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia today refused to “prematurely” intervene in the setting up of an independent regulator to monitor safety of nuclear plants, saying it was a policy decision, with a Bill already pending in the House.
Efforts by advocate Prashant Bhushan, a Team Anna member, to compare the importance of an independent nuclear regulator with that of an autonomous ombudsman like Lokpal did not impress the court. The Bench told him not to “mix up” the issue of nuclear safety with Lokpal.
Rather than taking up the issue of nuclear safety at a “premature stage” when the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill is pending before the ongoing session of Parliament, the Bench said it prefers a public debate.

“So far as public safety is concerned, the court’s power under Article 21 (right to life) is always there. For all other issues (like setting up an independent regulator), it may not be for a court of law to decide. It is an issue of policy, and we cannot convert the Supreme Court into Parliament. The Supreme Court will remain the Supreme Court,” the Bench told Bhushan, representing the NGO Common Cause, and eminent public figures like a former Navy chief, former chief election commissioner, former secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office and an ex-member of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, all co-petitioners.

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