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Bhopal gas tragedy: Supreme Court dismisses Centre’s Plea of more compensation

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Batori24 Bureau
Batori24 Bureau
Batori24 is a Vernacular based Assamese news portal based in Guwahati Assam. We are a dedicated news channel covering news and stories across the globe with special reference to Assam, north-east along with National and International news.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The Supreme Court today dismissed the Centre’s petition seeking additional compensation from Union Carbide for the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The gas leak that killed over 3,000 people was one of the worst industrial disasters in history.

The government had requested that the case be reopened and that Union Carbide’s successor companies pay an additional 7,844 crore to victims of the gas leak. It had argued that the magnitude of the actual damage to human lives and the environment could not be properly assessed at the time of the 1989 settlement.

Rejecting the petition, the five-judge Constitution bench stated that the settlement can only be set aside on the basis of fraud, and that the centre had not argued on this point.
The court also stated that the centre had not provided any justification for bringing this matter up after two decades. It ordered that a sum of Rs. 50 crore held by the Reserve Bank of India be used to settle the outstanding compensation claims.

 

The five-judge bench, which also included justices Sanjiv Khanna, AS Oka, Vikram Nath, and JK Maheshwari, chastised the government for failing to draught an insurance policy for the victims in accordance with an undertaking given to the court in 1991.

It was referred to as “gross negligence” by the bench. It also stated that it is the responsibility of the government to address any financial deficiencies.

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The government sought reconsideration of the court’s 1989 and 1991 orders in a curative plea filed in 2010. The government claimed that the $470 million settlement reached in 1989 was grossly inadequate. It went on to say that Union Carbide, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, should be asked to pay more.

Union Carbide’s successor firms, represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, had told the court that the rupee’s depreciation since 1989 cannot be used to seek a “top-up” of compensation now. The firms claimed that the centre never suggested that the settlement was insufficient at the time of its signing.

During the hearing, the court requested that the government “dive into its own pocket” to provide additional compensation. Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemicals, agreed to pay 715 crore in compensation as part of the 1989 settlement.

 

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