SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR PETITION ON INDO-US DEAL

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The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking Parliament’s approval before going ahead with the agreement on Indo-US nuclear deal. A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice R V Raveendran and Justice V S Sirpurkar said: “It is the prerogative of Parliament to decide. This is a policy matter which is not to be examined by the court”.

Petitioner M N Ramamurthy, a Mumbai-based IITian appearing in person said that the issue was not discussed in Parliament. It was the handiwork of few executives. The majority of parliamentarians were not in favour of the deal. The aspects of the agreement were against the security of the nation, said Ramamurthy.

“You may have one or two aspects of agreement. There are other facets of it. The issue is for the Parliament to decide,” said court declining judicial interference. Petitioner’s plea that in case both Parliament and executive failed to discharge their duty what remedy was available except judicial interference did not cut ice. When he wanted to know the reasons for the dismissal of his petition, the bench said, “”we do not give reasons. It is the discretion of the court to entertain a petition”.

Ramamurthty said that 123 nuclear deal was still valid and the court can direct for its full examination before it is implemented.

He said that whether it was a multilateral or bilateral agreement it cannot be decided by the executives. “The executives cannot give fait accompli to Parliament,” he said and submitted that the matter be referred to a Constitution Bench. He complained that even the Speaker refused to allow discussion on the deal which blocks nuclear test for 40 years.

“We have two hostile neighbours. Next generation will be under threat,” he said contending that there was no transparency in the entire matter.

While the genesis of the agreement was that India needs uranium, the Chairman of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India reportedly said the country has enough of Uranium.

“Can only 10 people have the right to know about the contents of the agreement,” he said adding India was going in a hurry even before the US Hyde Acts being amended.

Ramamurthy referred to the Hyde Act, 2006 of US under which it could enter into bilateral agreement with any country including India for transfer of nuclear materials and technologies. He had contended that the provisions of the Act were detrimental to country’s interest and the Centre should be refrained from hurriedly executing any agreement with US till the same was thoroughly examined by a Committee.

The petitioner contended that the consequence of such “acts and omissions” by the executive are “far too serious and grave” for the country and the matter cannot be left to the wisdom of executive alone.

There was immediate need to examine its implications on national security, sovereignty and dignity of the country, he said asking the court that pending the disposal of the petition the Centre should be directed to release full texts of the proposed bilateral agreement with the US for public information and scrutiny.

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