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Court for new panel on Clemenceau

Tuesday 14 February 2006, by VENKATESAN*J.

Bench asks Centre to name retired naval officers

Earlier order that ship should not enter Exclusive Economic Zone to continue French Government to indicate quantum of asbestos on board

NEW DELHI: Not satisfied with the report of its Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to suggest by February 17 the names of three or four retired Navy officers for appointment of a new panel to go into the issue of allowing the French warship, Clemenceau, into India.

They could be those who headed the dockyards in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi. The Defence Ministry should consider experts from the Defence Research and Development Organisation also, said a Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia

It was hearing a petition filed by the Research Foundation for Science seeking a direction to stop the entry of the ship on the basis of the interim report of the monitoring committee.

The Bench, after perusing its report, pointed out that the committee did not have the expertise to go into dismantling of warships. A peculiar situation arose as its members were divided on whether or not the warship could be allowed entry.

The Bench asked counsel for the French Government why its authorities had not allowed the dismantling in that country. "Why are they objecting when they have technology available to dismantle the ship?"

The Bench said that its earlier order that the Clemenceau should not enter the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone would continue, after senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the company which imports the ship, submitted that the ship was waiting outside the country’s territorial waters. The Bench asked the French Government and others to indicate the quantum of asbestos on the ship. It also wanted to know the legal position whether a ship once imported could be sent back.

It directed the company to file the Bill of Entry with the Customs Department though the ship would not enter the Indian EEZ.

It asked the department to examine the Bill of Entry, if necessary with the help of Central Pollution Control Board officials, to find out whether or not the contents of the ship were hazardous.

See online : The Hindu


Protests, articles banned

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: Expressing shock at media reports and demonstrations, dharnas and rallies organised against the entry of French ship, Clemenceau, the Supreme Court on Monday banned holding of protests and publication of articles one way or the other. A Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia said that holding demonstrations or writing articles "either pro or against or a middle line" during the pendency of proceedings would amount to prima facie contempt of court.

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