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The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act, 2015

The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act of 2015 (Act no. 5 of 2016) is enacted as the law of Parliament in the year 2015 and it was given assent by the honourable President of India on 31st day of December, 2015. The object behind bringing this law is to amend the provisions of the Original enactment i.e. the Atomic Energy Act of 1982 (Act no. 33 of 1962) which was enacted with the aim and object to make provisions for the development, control and use of atomic energy for the welfare of the people of India and for other peaceful purposes. The present concerned Original Act was amended for several times. The present Amending Act is as such enacted to further amend the provisions of the said Original Act.

This present Amending law is to amend only two sections in the Original Act, viz. the section 2 and section 14 of the said Original Act. It was actually, the Original enactment was authorizing the Central Government to produce, develop, use and dispose of an atomic energy either by itself or by allowing the Government Company or any authority or Corporation which was established by the Government. However, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited- NPCIL and Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited, these two public sector Undertakings are those companies which are operating nuclear power plants in the Country. And recently, The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited company is considering the Joint Venture companies’ formation with the other public sector undertakings of India for civil nuclear power projects. But, the Original Act was not covering such Joint Venture Companies in its definition offered for the term ‘Government Company’ as defined under its clause (bb) of sub- section (1) of the Section 2 of the said Original Act. As such, the present Amendment was considered necessary to include such Joint Venture companies in the definitions of the term ‘Government Company’ and remove the difficulty from the law.

Thus, the present Amending Law is brought to amend firstly, the clause (bb) of Sub- section (1) of Section 2 of the Original Act. The section 2 of the Amending enactment as such substituting the older definition to the term ‘Government Company’ in the context of this law, with the newer provided herein. As per the new definition to the term ‘Government Company’, it is provided that the Company in which at least fifty- one per cents of the paid- up share capital is held by the Central Government or the whole of the paid- up share capital is held by one or more of the such companies and the articles of association of such companies allow the Central Government to constitute and reconstitute its Board of Directors, will be the Government company for this Act’s purpose.

Moreover, this present Amending Act of 2015 is also amending the section 14 of the Original Act by inserting the new sub- sections after sub- section (1) of the Original Act. This new sub- section is numbered as sub- section (1A) and (1B). Sub- section (1A) is the license should not be grated to the person other than a Department of the Central Government or any authority, or institution or a corporation which was established by the Central Government or even such licenses can be granted to the Government Company. Moreover, the next new sub- section (1B) is make provisions for the cancellation of the said license in the circumstances when the Government Company ceases to be a Government Company. And on such cancellation of the license, the assets of such company will be vested in the Central Government free from any liability. Moreover, the Central Government in such situation is also required to take safety measures for operation of the plant and also for the disposal of the nuclear material so vested in it, as could be seemed necessary in such situation. Thus, the present Amending law is offering all such amendments in the original enactment of 1962.