Bhopal gas tragedy case: SC dismisses govt's plea seeking compensation| 5 points
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the Centre's curative petition demanding an additional compensation from UCC for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the Centre's curative petition demanding an additional compensation of over ₹7,400 crore from the American company Union Carbide Corporation's (UCC) successor firms for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
Here is all you need to know about the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case:
1. On December 3, 1984, methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide factory owned by the American company UCC in Bhopal - the state capital of Madhya Pradesh. More than half a million people were poisoned and the official death toll exceeded 5,000 people. The gas tragedy also led to severe environmental damage.
2. Following the disaster, the government sued the US-based company - now owned by Dow Chemicals. In 1989, the company agreed to pay an out-of-court settlement of $470 million in damages.
3. However, in 2010, the Centre approached the Supreme Court seeking enhanced compensation for the victims, arguing that the enormity of the actual damage caused to human lives and the environment could not be assessed properly at the time of the settlement in 1989. According to the government, the settlement was “grossly inadequate”.
4. On January 12, the top court bench reserved its verdict in the matter, stressing that the Centre and the company mutually agreed to the $470 million settlement in 1989 towards “all past, present and future claims”. “If we allow the government to reopen a settlement 25 years after, the sanctity of a settlement goes away,” the bench had said.
5. On Tuesday, a five-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul noted that all the settlements were “sufficient to meet the present and future claims of the victims.” However, the Supreme Court added that a total of ₹50 crore lying with the RBI for the victims shall be utilised by the Union of India to satisfy pending claims of victims.