Keywords: right of recourse, legal channelling, nuclear liability, India, foreign suppliers, supplier liability, exclusive operator liability, public policy, Convention on Supplementary Compensation, delegated legislation, law reform, Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, nuclear accidents, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear law
A dangerous recourse? A critical relook at Section 17 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010
The newly created regime for civil liability for nuclear damage in India has been a fertile source of controversy. Section 17 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 and Rule 24 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules, 2011 are of particular interest, as they provide for the right of recourse, i.e. the extent to which suppliers of nuclear material can be held liable for damages caused due to a nuclear accident in India. This paper analyses the complex legal architecture relating to the right of recourse in India in the context of the Constitution, Supreme Court jurisprudence, international and comparative law, and prevailing policy rationales. On the basis of this analysis, it suggests appropriate reform to the Indian law to ensure that its provisions are sound in principle and effective in facilitating the safe, affordable and efficient supply of nuclear energy in India.