Jurist slams govt for reopening Bhopal case
Noted jurist Fali S Nariman on Sunday trashed the government's efforts to reopen the cases against the accused in the Bhopal gas tragedy and termed as "wrong" the opinion given by the Attorney General GE Vahanvati in the matter.
Nariman reiterated that he regretted having represented the Union Carbide Corporation as its "lead lawyer" in the courts.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate on CNN-IBN, he said the government would have to pay the entire amount of enhanced compensation, since the matter has already been settled by the Supreme Court in 1989.
Asked about the Centre's efforts to file a curative petition in the SC against the top court's 1996 judgment to dilute charges against the former Carbide officials, he said:" According to section 300 of the CrPC for the same set of facts, you cannot have another offence, and convict them... and then say that they are liable to a higher degree of punishment".
Asked about the chances of extraditing former Carbide chief Warren Anderson, the jurist said:" It looks grim to me but if they have any means to do so, well, certainly they can do it."
On the Centre's efforts to charge the seven accused convicted by a Bhopal court for causing death due to negligence, he termed the move as "illegal".
On being reminded that the government view has been emboldened by Vahanvati's support, he said: "Then you better ask the Attorney General." Asked if Vahanvati had given wrong advice, he said:"Of course, yes."
Nariman said the attempts by the government would raise "public expectations," but he was not sure whether these would not be dashed. "Public memory is short," he said.
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