HOUSE NOD NOT NEEDED FOR NUKE DEAL: SUPREME COURT

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The Supreme Court dismissed a PIL seeking to restrain the government from going ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal on the ground that without Parliament's approval the government could not move ahead. The apex court said the Constitution does not debar the government from signing a treaty without Parliament's assent.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran said, "There is nothing in the Constitution which prevents the government from signing a treaty (without approval of Parliament)".

Advocate Abhay Kumar, appearing for petitioner M Ravi Prakash, said the proposed Indo-US nuclear deal is violative of the constitutional provisions as no legislation has been passed to that effect. The court, however, turned down the plea.

"Hundreds of treaties are being signed by the government. Is there any provision which prevents the government from entering into it?," the court asked. "In all treaties like WTO, GATT or others, you surrender some rights and gain some rights," observed Justice Raveendran.

Advocate Kumar was trying to impress the bench that after this agreement the country would lose its power to conduct nuclear test, which would have serious implication on the security of the nation.

The court earlier had dismissed similar petitions that had sought to restrain the government from going ahead with the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, reasoning that they were "policy matters", and it could not examine them. 

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