Supreme Court not inclined to hear plea for stay on nuclear plants

Petitioners seek time to produce documents showing they have exhausted all other avenues of grievance redressal

By Ankur Paliwal
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

The Supreme Court declined to entertain a petition seeking a stay on all proposed nuclear power plants in India on November 14, during preliminary hearing of a plea by several scientists and retired bureaucrats. The bench comprising chief justice of India H S Kapadia and Swatantar Kumar asked the petitioners to first approach the prime minister’s office and the Department of Atomic Energy to get their grievances redressed.  

The bench said that it would not entertain a petition, which sought laying down of general guidelines on nuclear safety as the apex court had no expertise in the field.

"The nuclear plants are constructed over several years. Every nuclear plant has its own structure. We cannot pass an order across the board for all nuclear plants, imposing a certain safety standard. You first move the concerned department and we will take up the petition only after you show us that the petitioners had approached the authorities seeking an answer to the crucial questions," the bench told Prasant Bhushan, counsel for the petitioners.

In the public interest petition filed on October 14, the petitioners had asked for a stay on all the proposed nuclear power plants and had sought the setting up of an independent body to undertake a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and assess nuclear safety of all nuclear power plants.

Bhushan said the petitioners had written several letters on the matter to the Department of Atomic Energy, which was directly under the prime minister, but that nothing has been done. He requested the court to adjourn the hearing till Friday so that he could furnish copies of the repeated representations made by the petitioners to the prime minister and the Department of Atomic Energy, expressing serious concern over nuclear safety. 

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