Hitting out at former Chief Justice of India AH Ahmadi for a 1996 ruling in the Bhopal gas tragedy case, an NGO working for the victims of the world's worst industrial disaster on Thursday said the judge was as big a "villain" as former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson.
"There is not much difference between Ahmadi and Anderson and the two should be put in the same category of villains," Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan (BGPMUS) convenor Abdul Jabbar told PTI.
In a 1996 Supreme Court ruling in the gas tragedy case, the then apex court chief justice Ahmadi dropped charges under IPC Section 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against Anderson and other accused in the case.
Had the charges not been dropped, the accused could have been given an imprisonment of 10 years instead of only two years, awarded to them on Monday, Jabbar said.
Former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others were convicted and sentenced to two-year jail term in a judgement on June 7. However, there was no word about Anderson in the judgement delivered by CJM Mohan P Tiwari.
Eighty nine-year-old Anderson, who lives in the United States, left the country soon after the tragedy and was declared an absconder.
The verdict has came under attack from all sections of society, including civil rights activists, political parties and Indian film industry, following which the government constituted a GoM to go into range of issues concerning the disaster.
However, Ahmadi had rejected criticism of dilution of charge against Union Carbide executives in the case and had said in criminal law there was no concept of vicarious liability.
Jabbar said Ahmadi is now the chairman of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital which was set up on Supreme Court's direction with money given by Union Carbide.
The hospital is not in good shape now as five of its 16 departments had been closed down and around 300 staffers, including doctors, had left it for various reasons, Jabbar alleged.