In a big setback for the centre, the Supreme Court today dismissed its petition seeking more compensation from Union Carbide for the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The gas leak that killed over 3,000 people is among the world’s worst industrial disasters.
Here are top 10 points from this big story:
- The centre had sought that the case be reopened and Union Carbide’s successor firms be directed to pay an additional ₹ 7,844 crore to victims of the gas leak. It had argued that the enormity of the actual damage to human lives and the environment could not be assessed properly at the time of the settlement in 1989.
- Rejecting the petition, the five-judge Constitution bench said the settlement can be set aside only on the ground of fraud and that the centre had not argued on this point.
- The court also said that the centre had not provided any rationale for raking up this matter after two decades. It directed that a sum of ₹ 50 crore lying with the Reserve Bank of India be used to clear the pending compensation claims.
- “We are unsatisfied with the Union of India for not furnishing any rationale for raking up this issue after two decades…We are of the view that curative petitions cannot be entertained,” the bench said. “If it is reopened then it may open a pandora’s box and will be detrimental to the claimants,” it added.
- The Constitution bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Abhay S Oka, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J K Maheshwar, had on January 12 reserved its verdict on the petition.
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