Bhopal gas tragedy: Victims fail to win relief in court
The Bhopal gas tragedy spawned a series of first-of-its-kind class action suits, a petition filed by a group of people affected by the same incident that are being fought by the victims to this day.
Five days after the incident, the CBI began its investigation. Subsequently, it charge sheeted Anderson with culpable homicide before a Bhopal court. Despite summons, the Centre failed to have him extradited.
In February 1989, the Supreme Court directed Union Carbide Corporation to pay $470 million in damages. Within 10 days, UCC made full payment to the government. Most victims have received Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 in compensation, an amount too small for effective medical treatment or restitution, said the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
In 1996, UCC moved SC to dilute the charges against it. It agreed and charged it only with criminal negligence. A petition filed by the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti sought a review of this judgment, but was dismissed.
Fourteen years later, the CBI filed a curative petition to re-examine the SC judgment saying it led to gross miscarriage of justice. But, a five-judge bench of the SC dismissed the petition and questioned the CBI’s silence all these years.
The government, too, filed a curative petition in 2010, seeking additional compensation from UCC and its owner, Dow Chemical. The case is yet to be taken up by the SC.