SC Demands Explanation from CBI

A five judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice HS Kapadia, on April 13, began the hearing of curative petitions in the Bhopal gas tragedy. While hearing the curative petition filed by the CBI to re-examine the 1996 Supreme Court's judgement, the five judge bench questioned the CBI for approaching the court after a gap of 16 years and not filing a review petition during these years.

GE Vahanvati, Attorney General appearing for the CBI, clarified that a review petition was filed by some other organization in the past (Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangarsh Sahyog Samiti) but was dismissed and admitted that CBI was late in approaching the court. He added that the delay, however, should not be a reason to deny justice to thousands of people who lost their lives in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case on the night of December 2-3, 1984.

The curative petition by the CBI has been filed to book Keshub Mahindra, the then chairman of Union Carbide India Limited and others accused in the case under section 304 Part-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

“There were a series of events that took place from 1982, which showed that their were serious problems with the plant including design defects, lack of refrigeration, inadequate storage etc. The accused were aware of the omissions and commissions in the plant and despite that no steps were taken to avoid that accident and inform people of the precautions they needed to take in case of a gas leak,” he said.

According to the 1996 judgement, the court had ruled that the accused be tried under section 304(a), which amounts to causing death by negligence. The charge under section 304 Part- II was diluted to section 304(a) by a bench comprising chief justice AM Ahmadi and justice SB Majmudar. Last year on June 7, a trial court in Bhopal convicted and sentenced the seven accused to two years jail term.  

GE Vahanvati’s argument went on for a whole day. The next hearing is scheduled for April 19.

CSE Reports
Action Plan_Environmental Remediation in and around UCIL, Bhopal
Contamination due to Union Carbide factory - December, 2009
Analysis of Soil and Groundwater Samples in Bhopal, IITR, 2013
NEERI-NGRI FinalReport: Assessment and Remediation of Hazardous Waste
Contaminated Areas in and around M/s Union
Carbide India Ltd., Bhopal,
June, 2010
IICT: Technical and tender document for detoxification, decommissioning and dismantling of Union Carbide plant, February, 2010
CPCB findings on contamination at Bhopal site Jan 2010
Report on visit to UCIL at Bhopal for steps needed to remove toxic waste, NK Verma and others from central and state pollution control board and BGTRRD, 2003
Technical guidelines for cleanup at the Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) site in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, Greenpeace International, 2002
Surviving Bhopal 2002: Toxic Present - Toxic Future, Shrishti and Fact Finding Mission on Bhopal, 2002
Chemical Stockpiles at Union Carbide India Limited in Bhopal: an investigation, Greenpeace International, 2002
Groundwater Contamination near the Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal, Peoples Science Institute, 2001- 02
The Bhopal Legacy, Greenpeace International, 1999
Assessment of Contaminated Areas Due to Past Waste Disposal Practices at EIIL, Bhopal NEERI, 1997
State Research Laboratory report, Public Health Engineering Department, Bhopal, 1996
Process Package for Disposal of SEP Contents at UCIL, Bhopal, NEERI Report 1992 (Recommendations)
Assessment of Pollution Damage Due to Solar Evaporation Ponds at UCIL, Bhopal NEERI 1990
Union Carbide in Bhopal, India: The Lingering Legacy, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, 1990
Bhopal site rehabilitation and assets recovery project, Union Carbide, 1989
The Bhopal Disaster
Supreme Court's Order on Toxic Waste, May 2013
Supreme Court's Order on Toxic Waste, March 2013
Curative petition filed by 5 bhopal organisations for compensation, April 2011
Supreme Court order on Bhopal waste disposal, January 28, 2010
Supreme Court review judgement on Bhopal gas case, May 4, 2007
Supreme Court review judgement on Bhopal gas case, October 3, 1991
Supreme Court decision on Bhopal gas settlement, February 14, 1989
US lower court order on Bhopal gas case, May, 1986
Key legal cases
Waste disposal at UCIL
CSE letter to Jairam Ramesh Minister of Environment and Forests on Bhopal for GoM - June 17, 2010
CSE letter to Bijoy Chatterjee, Secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals - February 15, 2010
CSE letter to Ratan Tata - December 11, 2009
CSE letter to Montek Singh Ahluwalia - December 11, 2009
CSE letter to Bijoy Chatterjee, Secretary,
Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals
- November 30, 2009