Supreme Court dismisses Swamy’s petition against Chidambaram

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy’s petition has been dismissed by the Supreme Court for review of its verdict clearing Finance Minister P Chidambaram of all charges in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The apex court said the decision does not “warrant any reconsideration.”

“We have perused the averments contained in the review petition and have gone through the record of Special Leave Petition and are satisfied that order dated August 24, 2012 does not suffer from any error apparent which may be warranted its reconsideration.

“The review petition is accordingly dismissed,” a bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said.

Swamy had sought review of the August 24 decision by which his plea for CBI inquiry against Chidambaram was rejected by the same bench, which had said there was no material to establish that he abused his official position as the then finance minister.

It had also said neither had Chidambaram conspired nor had he colluded with former Telecom Minister A Raja to obtain any pecuniary advantage for himself or any other persons.

Aggrieved by the order, Swamy had filed the review petition, which was dismissed by the same bench on December 4.

SC quashes HC order on 5 rebel Haryana Janhit Congress MLAs

The Supreme Court today quashed the Punjab and Haryana High Court order which had restrained five Haryana Janhit Congress MLAs from joining the ruling Congress till the assembly speaker decides on their disqualification.

A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir, however, asked the speaker of the Haryana legislative assembly to decide within three months the issue of MLAs’ disqualification.

The apex court on January 4 had stayed the December 20, 2011 judgement of the high court on a Special Leave Petition (SLP) by the Haryana assembly speaker and some of the aggrieved MLAs, questioning the verdict.

The high court had ordered that the five MLAs be treated as unattached members, belonging neither to the Congress nor Haryana Janhit Congress and that they would not hold any office.

The high court had passed the order on Haryana Janhit Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi’s petition, questioning the Haryana assembly speaker’s decision to treat the alleged defection by five of his party MLAs as merger of his entire party with the ruling Congress party.

Plea for stalling Kudankulam nuke project reaches SC

The row over setting up the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu reached the Supreme Court with a petition, which sought its directions to restrain the Union government and other authorities from commissioning the controversial project.

The Special Leave Petition (SLP) by social activist G Sundarrajan against the Madras High Court’s Aug 31 decision refusing to impose any restraint has claimed that non-implementation of various recommendations formulated by the Government’s Task Force “puts to grave risk the safety of millions of citizens.”

The petition, filed through counsel Prashant Bhushanand Pranav Sachdeva, said the high court had given a go ahead to the nuclear power plant without first ensuring that the 17 critical safety features recommended by the Central government’s expert task-force are put in place.

It complained that in complete violation of the absolute liability principle evolved by the apex court, the government has absolved the Russian company supplying the nuclear reactor of any liability in case of an accident.

“The government has also brutally cracked down on the local community peacefully protesting against the plant and has slapped sedition cases against thousands of protesters. “Thus it is absolutely clear that the government intends to push the project through without any consideration of the safety, costs, environmental impact and other concerns regarding the project,” the petition said.

The petitioner urged the court to pass an “ex-parte ad-interim injunction against the respondents from further proceeding with Initial Fuel Loading and/or Commissioning the Unit 1& 2 of the KudankulamNuclear Power Project till the recommendations of the task force regarding the said project are fully implemented.”

According to the petition, the government’s Task Force had made a detailed review of the safety measures of the project in the light of inadequacies of Fukushmia plant which suffered due to lack of alternative fresh water storage and want of back-up power system.

The Task Force had sought implementation of its 17 recommendations before commissioning units 1 and 2 of KKNPP, the petition said.

The important recommendations among other things related to the provision of alternative fresh water storage system and emergency pumping equipment, which are yet to be implemented even today, it added.

It said the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) now states that implementation of these measures would take six months to 2 years.

“If, by chance, any natural disaster happens before the said measures are implemented, there is every chance of a meltdown and huge leakage of radiation that would make a large area uninhabitable for decades and would need evacuation of millions of people,” the petition said.

The petitioner said the AERB could not act independently in the matter because it is under the Atomic Energy Department and hence is unable to act firmly.

“India’s nuclear safety regulator AERBis a body under the control of the very department it is supposed to regulate and merely acts as a rubber-stamping authority, and thereby, it has put to grave risk the rights of the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the petition said.

The petitioner said with the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 coming into force from Sept 21, 2010, the liability of the nuclear plant operator and supplier has been pegged at a meagre Rs 1,500 crore “in complete violation of the absolute liability principle” propounded by the apex court in its earlier judgements on environmental issues.

“Russia claims that it is exempt from even this minimal liability since their contract with the Indian government states that they would not be liable,” the petition said.

(Source : PTI)