SC issues notice to Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Chemicals

Monday, February 28, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Chemicals and others on a plea filed by the Centre seeking enhancement of compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy from Rs. 750 crore to 7,700 crore.

The apex court also sought replies of Mcleod Russel India, which holds 50.9 per cent share in Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), currently known as Eveready Industries Ltd, on a curative petition filed by the Central Government against the 1989 judgement and the 1991 judgement.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia also said it will hear on day-to-day basis from April 13 the Centre’s plea for restoration of the stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the accused and enhancement of compensation for the victims.

The bench also issued notices to the companies seeking transfer of the writ petition before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which is hearing the issues relating to the environmental damage caused due to the leakage of the poisonous gas.

The Supreme Court had on August 31 last year reopened the Bhopal gas leak case and issued notices to all the accused on the basis of a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking to restore against them the stringent charge of culpable homicide, which attracts a maximum punishment of ten years jail term.

In in-chamber proceedings, a bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Altamas Kabir and R V Raveendran sought response from the accused on the curative petition filed by the CBI, which wanted a reconsideration of the 1996 judgement, which diluted charges against former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others.

In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere and was carried by the wind to the surrounding slums.

The government says around 3,500 died because of the disaster. Activists however calculate that 25,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and the years that followed. (ANI)

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