Former Supreme Court Chief Justice AH Ahmadi on Tuesday rejected criticism of dilution of charge against Union Carbide executives in Bhopal gas tragedy case, saying in criminal law there was no concept of vicarious liability.
He also lamented that there was absence of law to deal with disasters of Bhopal kind and said law can be amended to
provide for adequate punishment.
Justice Ahmadi, who headed the bench in 1996 that converted the CBI charge under the stringent provisions of
304-II that provided for maximum of 10 years imprisonment to Section with two years maximum imprisonment, said it was easy for people to talk and make allegations but judges have to work under the system.
"One has to work within the system, within the framework of law. It is easy to speak today, to swing with the
tide," he said reacting to criticism that the decision given by bench had led to light punishment given by a Bhopal court
in the gas case on Monday.
"There is no concept of vicarious liability. If my driver is driving and meets with a fatal accident, I don't
become liable to be prosecuted under 304-II," he said.
Justice Ahmadi said that there was no vicarious liability concept in criminal law except that "if there is an
abetment, the abettor may be joined with the principal offender. If there is a common intention situation or
conspiracy situation, that is understandable. Otherwise no."