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Supreme Court to hear petition on March 21

THE SUPREME Court has fixed March 21 to hear an application file by the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan seeking to reopen the 1989 settlement with the Union Carbide Corporation amounting to the payment of 470 million dollar, on the grounds of inadequacy of the compensation amount.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 01:38 IST

THE SUPREME Court has fixed March 21 to hear an application file by the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan seeking to reopen the 1989 settlement with the Union Carbide Corporation amounting to the payment of 470 million dollar, on the grounds of inadequacy of the compensation amount.

A bench comprising Justice B N Srikrishna and Justice Lokesh Singh Panta while hearing the PIL also directed the parties concerned to file additional documents and written arguments by March 21.

The petitioner counsel, Indira Jaisingh, pleaded that 3000 lost their lives and over one lakh people were affected or maimed in the gas leak from UCC in December 1984 and the compensation was totally inadequate for those poor victims who are suffering from the after-effects of the toxic MiC gas.

The settlement was arrived at in the Supreme Court and the bench was headed by the then chief justice R S Pathak. BMHRC TRUST PLEA: The court also fixed for hearing on the same day a petition by the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) Trust seeking release of about Rs 37 crore lying attached in the court of judicial magistrate, Bhopal, where criminal case is still pending against the UCC chairman and other officials who have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case of criminal negligence.

Senior counsel R K Jain, appearing for the Trust sought the release of funds on the plea that it was required for the maintenance of the hospital.

The court said that it will hear the application for release of funds on March 21 and would take a decision on that day whether the petitioner Sangathan should be allowed access to the accounts of the Trust.

Jaisingh, however opposed the release of the funds on the grounds that since 1996 till date no accounts have been submitted by the Trustees and there is a misappropriation of Trust funds to the tune of Rs 150 crore.

The amount of Rs 342 crore from the attachment of the shares of the company was earmarked for construction of the charitable hospital in Bhopal for the treatment of the victims. Jain, however, contended that audited accounts from 1998 to March 31, 2003, have already been filed in the court in sealed cover.

Jaisingh however alleged that the funds have been frittered away illegally and demanded that her client should be given a copy of accounts for scrutiny. Jain vehemently opposed the plea of access to accounts by the petitioner.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 01:38 IST