A Timeline of the Criminal Case Outstanding Against Union Carbide in Relation to the 1984 Bhopal Disaster
2-3 December 1984
On the night of 2/3 December 1984, forty tonnes of methyl iscocyanate (MIC - a highly volatile toxic chemical) stored at a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) became contaminated with water and other impurities. The plant, which had installed inadequate and poorly designed safety systems, was incapable of containing the exothermic reaction set off by the contamination and, as a result, a mixture of deadly gases escaped from the factory killing several thousands of people and inflicting grievous injuries on more than 500,000 others.
3 December 1984
First Information Report (FIR) on the disaster filed at Hanumangunj police station, Bhopal.
7 December 1984
The first of more than 100 suits brought by American lawyers against Union Carbide is filed in a U.S. court.
7 December 1984
Police arrest Warren M Anderson, Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation, Keshub Mahindra, Chairman of UCIL and Vijay Prabhakar Gokhle, Managing Director of UCIL.
9 December 1984
Case taken over by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
2 January 1985
All federal cases are consolidated in federal district court in New York.
20 February 1985
In response to US based personal injury lawyers signing up thousands of survivors for actions, the Government of India (GoI) intervened by means of Presidential Ordinance, authorising itself exclusive rights to control all claims for compensation arising from the Bhopal gas disaster.
29 March 1985
Indian Parliament enacts Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act 1985, whereby the Union of India arrogated to itself sole power of legal representation in any civil suit against UCC and other defendants arising out of the disaster. Act applies to related litigation both within and without India and also placed the process of categorizing and adjudicating claims under direct control of the Government.
8 April 1985
The Indian government sues on behalf of the victims in New York court.
12 May 1986
Justice Keenan acceded to UCC’s arguments and ordered dismissal of the suits on grounds of forum non conveniens stating that India is a more appropriate forum for a trial.
9 September 1986
The Indian government, seeking $3 billion, sues on behalf of the victims in Bhopal district court.
4 January 1987
A federal appeals court upholds the dismissal of the U.S. cases.
1 December 1987
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) files charge sheet before Kanatilal Sisodia, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Bhopal, against Warren Anderson, chairman of UCC, and eleven other accused including UCC (USA), Union Carbide (Eastern) Hong Kong, and UCIL.
17 December 1987
Bhopal district judge M.W. Deo orders Union Carbide to pay the victims about $270 million in interim relief before trial.
Dec 87- May 88
Summons issued to UCC and Warren Anderson on three occasions.
4 April 1988
Indian High Court Judge S.K. Seth upholds the interim relief order but reduces the amount to $190 million.
16 May 1988
After a fourth summons was issued to UCC and Warren Anderson Robert Berzok, UCC's then director of communications stated: “Union Carbide will not appear because, as a United States corporation, it is not subject to India's jurisdiction"
6 July 1988
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Bhopal, issues letter rogatory to the U.S. Administration seeking permission for the CBI to inspect safety systems installed at the MIC unit of UCC's premier pesticide plant at Institute, West Virginia, USA.
7 July 1988
CJM, Bhopal issues fresh summons against Anderson.
16 July 1988
Summons dated July 16, 1988 served through letter Rogatory, including to Robert D. Kennedy, now chairman of UCC “to appear in court Sept. 24 in connection with the criminal charge against Union Carbide."
20 September 1988
Report from Embassy of India, Washington, dated September 20, 1988, confirms that the summons had been served on Warren Anderson and, on September 24, on John Macdonald, Secretary of UCC, and Peter J Whitley, solicitor for UCE in Hong Kong.
15 November 1988
CJM issues bailable warrant for arrest of Anderson
Subsequent to the warrant being issued, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) stated that it could not be executed because “execution of warrant is not covered by the Statutory provision of US laws on International Judicial assistance”.
Detective Inspector General of the CBI travelled to the U.S. in the second half of November 1988 for meetings with officials of DoJ to clarify matters of law. Procedural issues, involving the appointment of a Commissioner by the District Attorney and the service of subpoenas to UCC officials, resulted in a deferment of the inspection of UCC Institute plant. Inspection fixed for early 1989.
9 February 1989
CJM, Bhopal, issues non-bailable warrant of arrest against Warren Anderson, accused No.1, for repeatedly ignoring summons.
14 February 1989
The U.S. Administration grants permission to the CBI to inspect the safety systems of UCC's pesticide plant at Institute, West Virginia, USA, for purposes of comparison of the safety standards with that of the safety systems installed at the Bhopal plant.
14-15 February 1989
While the matter relating to payment of interim compensation was being heard before the Supreme Court of India, UCC and the Government of India (GOI) reached a settlement. The settlement stipulated inter alia that UCC would pay 470 million US dollars as compensation and the GOI would withdraw the criminal cases instituted against the accused in the Bhopal gas leak disaster case.
February/ March 1989
Public protest against the unjust settlement followed by filing of a number of review and writ petitions against the settlement in the Supreme Court by the BGPMUS, BGPSSS and other concerned groups.
3 October 1991
Supreme Court of India revoked criminal immunity granted to UCC and all other accused in the Bhopal gas leak disaster case in response to review and writ petitions filed by BGPMUS, BGPSSS and others. To meet the medical needs of the gas victims, the Court further ordered the Government of India to construct a 500-bed hospital. The construction cost of the hospital and its running cost for eight years, which was estimated to be around Rs.50 crores (or £5million) at that time, was to be borne by UCC and UCIL.
11 November 1991
Criminal cases against all the accused revived in the CJM's Court at Bhopal.
7 December 1991
Proclamation issued by CJM, Bhopal ordering Warren Anderson - accused No.1, UCC (USA) - accused No.10, and UCE (Hong Kong) - accused No.11, to present themselves before the CJM on 1/2/92.
1 January 1992
Proclamation for Anderson's appearance published in the Washington Post.
1 February 1992
After ignoring four court summonses, Anderson is proclaimed ‘absconding from justice’ (a fugitive from law). UCC (USA) and UCE (Hong Kong) also proclaimed absconders. CJM also declares that if the accused do not appear in Court on 27/3/92 their properties are liable to be attached.
21 February 1992
Proclamation of CJM published in the Washington Post declaring UCC (USA) an absconder and ordering UCC to present itself before the CJM on 27/3/1992.
26 February 1992
The above proclamation was also published in The Times of India.
27 February 1992
Proclamation published in The Times of India declaring UCE (Hong Kong) as absconder and ordering it be present before the CJM on 27/3/11992.
20 March 1992
UCC sets up the ‘Bhopal Hospital Trust’, in London (UK), with Ian Percival as its sole trustee. UCC endows its entire holding of shares in UCIL to the Trust. Apart from an initial grant of 1000 Pound Sterling for administrative expenses of the Trust, the only funds endowed to the Trust by UCC are the shares of UCIL.
27 March 1992
CJM, Bhopal issues non-bailable warrant of arrest against Warren Anderson and orders the Government of India to seek extradition of Anderson from the United States. Acceding to UCIL's request, the CJM postpones attachment of UCC's properties in India.
10 April 1992
Court issues non-bailable arrest warrant against Anderson.
30 March 1992
CJM, Bhopal orders confiscation of Union Carbide Corporation’s properties in India– its 51 % shares in Union Carbide India Limited.
15 April 1992
UCC announces that it has endowed its entire shares in UCIL to the Bhopal Hospital Trust.
20 April 1992
BGPSSS, BGPMUS and Bhopal Group for Information & Action (BGIA) appeal to members of the Indian Parliament to prevent transfer of UCC's shares in UCIL to the trust and to persuade the Government to attach the properties of UCC in India.
23 April 1992
CBI files application before CJM, Bhopal for attachment of shares and properties of UCC in India.
29 April 1992
BGPSSS, BGIA, and BGPMUS also file application before the CJM, Bhopal for attachment of shares and properties of UCC in India.
30 April 1992
In pursuance of the above applications, the CJM, Bhopal refuses to recognize the claim of the Bhopal Hospital Trust. An attachment order is issued on the shares and properties of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) held by UCC.
22 May 1992
The criminal case (R.T. No.2792/87) was committed to trial by the CJM, Bhopal, after separating 3 of the 12 accused - namely, accused Nos.1, 10 and 11 - who had been proclaimed as absconders on 1/2/1992. Date of committal was fixed for 22/6/92. The cases against the absconding accused were to proceed before the CJM, Bhopal, as Miscellaneous Judicial Case (MJC) No. 91 of 1992.
Following the direction of the CJM, Bhopal on 27/3/1992, the proclamation declaring UCE (Hong Kong) an absconder was published in the South China Morning Post.
22 June 1992
The criminal case (R.T.No.2792/87) was committed to the Session Court for trial. The CJM, Bhopal, ordered all those accused, who were appearing before it - namely, accused Nos. 2 to 9 and 12 - to appear before the Session Court on 17/7/92 to face trial.
17 July 1992
The trial (Session Trial No.257/1992) against accused Nos.2 to 9 & 12 began before the Court of the IXth Additional Sessions Judge, Bhopal. CBI filed an application before the CJM, Bhopal, for the appointment of a receiver for the attached properties of UCC in India.
11 August 1992
The M.P. High Court stayed the appointment of a receiver for the attached properties of UCC in India in response to the revision petition (Cr.R. No.362/92) filed by UCIL against the order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated 30/4/1992 in R.T. No.2792/87. The High Court also ordered the CBI to file a reply.
19 November 1992
Scheduled date for the final hearing on the application filed by the CBI before the High Court for vacating the stay on the appointment of a receiver for the attached properties of UCC. But the hearing was postponed.
5 April 1993
BGPSSS, BGPMUS and BGIA submitted a petition to Shri Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister, GOI, highlighting five issues of utmost importance which were causing grave concern to the victims of the Bhopal gas leak disaster. The issues related to payment of interim relief, economic rehabilitation, payment of final compensation, medical relief and research, and prosecution of the guilty.
8 April 1993
The Sessions Court, Bhopal, framed charges against accused Nos. 2 to 9 & 12 (eight officials of UCIL and the company UCIL) for punishable offenses under sections 304 (2), 326, 324 and 429 of IPC read with section 35 of IPC.
27 April 1993
Accused Nos.2 and 3 filed revision petitions Nos.237/93 and 238/93 in the High Court against the order of the Session Court, Bhopal, dated 8/4/1993 in Session Trial No.257/92. (Subsequently two more revision petitions - Nos. 311/93 and 312/93 - were filed by accused Nos.4 to 9 in the same case.)
10 December 1993
In applications (I.A. Nos.24 & 25 in C.A. No.3187-88 of 1988) filed by the UOI, the Apex Court recorded the proposal of Ian Percival, sole Trustee - Bhopal Hospital Trust, to raise funds for the Hospital by sale of the attached shares of UCC in UCIL. The case is adjourned for UOI to consider the proposal.
As the record of proceedings dated 10/12/1993 show, UCC participated in these proceedings and was also heard through counsel. UCC, which is absconding from the proceedings in the criminal case (R.T. No.2792 of 1987/MJC No.91 of 1992) before the CJM, Bhopal, appeared in the Apex Court in a civil suit along with the UOI. Also, the Bhopal Hospital Trust was an entity set up by a proclaimed offender, namely UCC. The CJM, Bhopal, had refused to accord legitimacy to the attempt made by the proclaimed offender, UCC, to transfer its shares in UCIL to the trust.
The questions that arise from the above developments are: (1) Can a Trust which was set up abroad by a proclaimed offender - an accused in a criminal case and absconding from a court in India - be accorded recognition by any judicial, governmental or non-governmental body in India? (2) Does the established law in any country allow a proclaimed offender in a criminal case to freely participate in the proceedings in a civil case? In any case, BGPSSS and BGIA were neither served notice nor heard on the matter.
27 December 1993
BGPSSS, BGPMUS, BGIA and Medico Friends Circle (MFC) submitted a petition to Shri Digvijay Singh, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, urging him to initiate action on the issues which were already brought to the notice of the Prime Minister on 5/ 4/ 1993. Representatives of BGPSSS, BGPMUS, BGIA and MFC also met the Chief Minister along with three Members of Parliament - Shri Suresh Pachouri, Dr.Malini Bhattacharya and Shri Hannan Mollah - to discuss the issues raised in the petition.
7-25 January 1994
The Permanent Peoples Tribunal [PPT] on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights, which held its session in Bhopal in October 1992, had recommended the setting up of an International Medical Commission on Bhopal (IMCB). (PPT was founded in 1979 as the successor to the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Crimes Against Humanity and is now based in Rome.) IMCB finally materialised when at the request of victim-groups, fourteen medical specialists from eleven countries - Belarus, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK and USA - came together to deliberate on the long-term medical care of the Bhopal gas victims. The doctors came out of compassion and at considerable personal cost and none of them were paid for their services.
The IMCB held its sessions in Delhi and Bhopal. The team spent twelve days in Bhopal interacting with gas victims, medical doctors, government officials, and studying available medical reports. The team also met the Chief Minister of the state. During their stay in Delhi, the IMCB team met the Minister for Chemical & Fertilizers and members of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
On 23 January 1994, the IMCB issued a statement which, among other things, stated the following:
"The IMCB publicly and clearly condemns Union Carbide and reiterates its full responsibility not only for the responsibility of the deadly gas leak but also for the confounding role of its behavior with respect to the timely and effective application of the appropriate medical measure since the time of the accident. We underline specifically: 1. The lack of transparency about qualitative and quantitative composition of the leaking gases. This contributes substantially to the absence of a rational strategy of care in the acute phase and to the perpetuation of conflicts and suspicions among the professionals and the population....""We recommend that on the basis of the evidence collected during our activity in Bhopal":
1.A substantial reorganisation of the health care system take place, to recognize that the current needs of the affected population are different from those in the earlier phase of the tragedy: a) priority should be given to the implementation of a network of community-based clinics which would more equitably and efficiently provide routine care for the population while avoiding unnecessary pressure on the hospital level. This should favour a policy of information and health education; b) hospital-based resources should be reoriented, mainly on an outpatient basis, to monitor those affected persons with chronic conditions.
2.The disease categories recognised as related to the Carbide Gas release be broadened to include specifically neurotoxic injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Alterations in the immune system should be formally considered in selected group of patients. Because of the possibly elusive characteristics of these clinical conditions (which impose however a heavy burden of suffering and impairment), a decisive effort should be made to clearly identify and characterize those who are affected in order to assure them appropriate follow-up care and adequate compensation.
3.Urgent priority be given to a critical review and full utilization of the data which have been collected in the many studies of the ICMR. Existing information should be communicated to the population and submitted for publication by the international scientific community. The IMCB is specifically worried by the absence of long-term outcome studies on the pediatric and women's populations who were so severely affected by the Carbide Gas release.
4.That the gas victims have the right to timely access to their medical records. Further, the often-repeated commitment to a "health book" given to each individual should be implemented. This would facilitate the recording of medical histories and continuity care for those with chronic conditions.
The Commissioners of the IMCB also committed themselves to stand ready "to assist the Government and our medical colleagues to implement the recommendations of the Commission."
14 February 1994
Supreme Court of India modifies the order of the CJM, Bhopal dated 30/4/1992 and allows UCC to sell off its shares in UCIL. However, BGPSSS and BGIA, at whose instance the properties of UCC were attached, were not served notice when the matter was brought before the Supreme Court and were denied an opportunity to present their views before the Supreme Court.
4 April 1994
BGPSSS and BGIA complain to the CJM, Bhopal about the injustice. The CJM directs BGPSSS and BGIA to file petition before the Supreme Court of India. 13/4/1994 BGPSSS and BGIA file petition before the Supreme Court for review of the order dated 14/2/1994 in I.A. Nos. 24 & 25 in C.A. Nos. 3187-88 of 1988.
18 April 1994
BGPSSS handed over to Shri R.M.Singh, DIG ACU-1, CBI (the chief officer in-charge of the Bhopal gas leak disaster case from the CBI), a copy of the video cassette (which is currently in the possession of the Delhi Science Forum) of the documentary titled "The Betrayal of Bhopal" produced by World-In-Action, Granada Television, United Kingdoms in June 1985 along with a copy of the transcript.
In the covering note, BGPSSS had stated that "this documentary provides prima facie evidence that UCC, while installing safety systems, had adopted double standard... However, these charges against UCC have to be verified by carrying out a comparative study of the safety systems of the Bhopal and Institute plants. We, hereby, request the CBI, which has not yet inspected the safety systems at the Institute plant in West Virginia, USA, to conduct the necessary inspection without further delay." (The note was also sent by registered post on 22/4/1994.)
22 April 1994
BGPSSS also addressed letters to Shri Eduardo Faleiro, Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Dinesh Singh, Minister for External Affairs, and Shri S.B.Chavan, Minister for Home Affairs, regarding the inordinate delay in seeking the extradition of Warren Anderson, accused No.1 in the Bhopal gas leak disaster criminal case. It was pointed out that a non-bailable warrant of arrest issued by the CJM, Bhopal, had been pending against the accused since 27/3/1992. BGPSSS, therefore, requested the ministers to "expedite the process of extradition so that the accused can be brought to trial without further delay." The ministers were also requested to "facilitate the visit of the CBI team to the United States so that the CBI could carry out the comparative study of the safety systems installed at the Bhopal and Institute plants at the earliest."
(While the letter addressed to Shri Eduardo Faleiro was handed over to his office, the other two letters were sent by registered post. Neither action was initiated nor has any reply ever been received.)
16 May 1994
The Supreme Court rejected applications (I.A. Nos. 26 & 27 in C.A. Nos.3187-88/88) filed by the Trustee of the Bhopal Hospital Trust which implicitly sought withdrawal of criminal cases instituted against UCC and UCIL.
4 July 1994
BGPSSS and BGIA filed three petitions (I.A. Nos.1, 2 and 3 in R.T. No.2792/87 - MJC No.91/92) before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal.
They are as follows: (1) for issuance of directions to the CBI to inspect UCC's plant at Institute in West Virginia, USA, for purposes of comparison of the safety standards with those of the safety systems installed at UCC's Bhopal plant; (2) for issuance of contempt of court notice to the GOI for not carrying out the order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated 27/3/1992 in R.T. No.2792/87. (On 27/3/1992, the Court had directed the UOI to seek extradition from the United States of accused No.1, Warren Anderson, against whom a non-bailable warrant of arrest had been issued by the Court); and (3) for issuance of notice to UCIL under section 201 and 202 IPC for tampering with vital evidence relating to the case.
14 July 1994
BGPSSS and BGIA filed amended review petitions (I.A. Nos.30 & 31 in C.A. Nos.3187-88/88) before the Apex Court against the order of the Court dated 14/2/1994 in I.A. Nos.24 & 25 in C.A. Nos.3187-88/88.
18 July 1994
Review petition filed by BGPSSS and BGIA not listed for hearing as scheduled.
10 September 1994
Announcement about signing the sales deal for the attached shares of UCC in UCIL appear in newspapers.
15 September 1994
Chief Justice of India orders listing of the review petition filed by BGPSSS and BGIA for hearing on 26/9/1994 after the matter was mentioned before his bench.
20 September 1994
CBI gives an undertaking to the Court that the facts relating to the extradition proceedings undertaken by the GOI would be placed before the Court within a month.
26 September 1994
Listing of review petition of BGPSSS and BGIA rescheduled and postponed to 7/10/1994.
7 October 1994
In response to the petitions filed by BGPSSS and BGIA (I.A. Nos.1, 2 and 3 in MJC 91/92) the CJM, Bhopal, issued an order recognising the locus standi of the intervener-petitioners and granted permission to them to intervene in the case. The CJM, however, rejected the application (I.A. No.1) seeking issuance of directions to the CBI to inspect the MIC unit of UCC's plant at Institute in West Virginia, USA, on the ground that the case against UCC was not before the Court of the CJM but was pending before the Bhopal Sessions Court.
In fact, the Court was misled by the CBI on this issue and the relevant files were not before the Court at that time. The CJM had issued the order without the CBI ever filing written replies to the applications filed by BGPSSS and BGIA. The CBI had only made oral submissions before the Court during the hearing on the application.
The application (I.A. No.2) on issuance of contempt of court notice to the GOI for failing to execute the order of the CJM dated 27/3/1992 was also rejected on the ground that the CBI had given an undertaking to the Court on 20/9/1994 that the facts relating to the extradition proceedings undertaken by the GOI would be placed before the Court within a month. The relevant facts of the case have not been placed before the CJM to this day.
Regarding the application (I.A. No.3) against UCIL, the CJM pointed out that the case had already been committed for trial and was pending before the Sessions Court.
7 October 1994
Listing of review petition of BGPSSS and BGIA rescheduled yet again and postponed to 10/11/1994. The Trustee of the Bhopal Hospital Trust (BHT) appears before the Chief Justice of India and prays for a hearing in the same matter. The Trustee's prayer listed for hearing on 20/10/1994.
20 October 1994
Before hearing the petition of BHT Trustee, the Supreme Court heard review petitions of BGPSSS and BGIA (I.A. Nos. 30 & 31 in C.A. Nos. 3187-88 of 1988) which were pending before the Court since 13/4/1994. After hearing the matter which had been adjourned five times, the Hon'ble Court gave the following ruling: (1) that the Supreme Court had not pronounced on the legality of the Bhopal Hospital Trust and that the matter of legality of the Trust should be decided by the Jabalpur High Court where a case pertaining to the appointment of a receiver for the attached shares of UCC in UCIL was pending; (2) that, while Rs.60 crores from the sale of the attached shares would go towards construction of a hospital for the Bhopal gas victims, the rest of the amount from the sales proceedings - amounting to Rs.230 crores (minus taxes and other expenses) - would remain attached in the name of UCC and the Trust, with the CJM, Bhopal retaining jurisdiction over the attached funds; (3) that no funds from the sales proceeds would go towards any administrative expenses of the Trust and that all administrative expenses for the Trust should be borne by UCC from other sources.
BGPSSS and BGIA effectively thwarted the attempt of UCC to escape the jurisdiction of the Indian courts and successfully prevented Ian Percival, the sole trustee of the Bhopal Hospital Trust, from appropriating Rs.5 crores in foreign exchange [equivalent to about £500,000] from the sales proceeds to meet administrative expenses of his office in London. This attempt implies that the BHT did not attempt to mobilize funds for its own administrative expenses and the trust is believed to have never raised any funds for the victims. Campaigners argue it was created by UCC to stave off attachment of its properties.
14 December 1994
IMCB's Interim Report was released in Bhopal.
14 February 1995
Rescheduled date for the final hearing in the M.P.High Court (Jabalpur) of Cr.R. No.362/92 against the order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated 30/4/1992 in R.T. No.2792/87. Final hearing in Cr.R. Nos. 237/93, 238/92, 311/93 and 312/93 against the order of the Sessions Court dated 8/4/1993 in S.T. No.257/92 were also scheduled to take place on the same day. However, both CBI and UCIL sought postponement of hearing to 23/3/1995. BGPSSS, BGIA and BGPMUS filed applications before the High Court seeking permission to intervene in the case.
20 February 1995
An application (I.A. No.4 in MJC 91/92) was filed by the intervener-petitioners, BGPSSS and BGIA, before the CJM, Bhopal, in pursuance of the order of the Court dated 7/10/1994. The intervener-petitioners brought to the notice of the Court the following:
(1) that as per the order of the CJM dated 22/5/1992, the criminal case arising out of the Bhopal gas leak disaster against the 12 accused had been bifurcated due to continued absence of accused Nos.1, 10 and 11. Subsequently, the cases against the rest of the 9 accused were committed to the Sessions Court where proceeding against them were initiated on 17/7/1992. The cases against accused Nos.1, 10 and 11 were to be pursued before the CJM as MJC 91/92. It followed from the above that that the specific matter with regard to inspection of the MIC unit at UCC's plant in Institute, West Virginia, USA, was entirely within the jurisdiction of the CJM, Bhopal;
(2) that as of 20/2/1995, the CBI had not placed the status report on the extradition procedures initiated by the GoI against Accused No.1, Warren Anderson. This was in clear violation of the undertaking given by the CBI to the Court on 20/9/1994.
(3) that while the cases against the three absconding accused (Nos.1, 10 and 11) were before the Court, there was no mention of accused Nos.10 and 11 in the proceedings before the Court since it was last mentioned in the order sheet on 29/9/1992.
(4) that contrary to the information submitted to the Court by the CBI on 27/3/1992, UCC continued to have holdings in Hong Kong. BGPSSS and BGIA undertook to submit to the CBI and to the Court specific information on UCC's Hong Kong based companies within fifteen days.
7 March 1995
In fulfillment of the undertaking given to the CJM, Bhopal, on 20/2/1995, BGPSSS and BGIA handed over to the CBI the addresses, telephone & fax numbers, and names of the authorised representatives of UCC's Hong Kong based companies. The information was received from Hong Kong based groups supporting the struggle of the Bhopal gas victims. One of the names placed before the CBI was that of the Vice-President of UCC and Director of the Agricultural Products Division of Union Carbide Eastern (Hong Kong) at the time of the disaster - Ramaswami Natarajan, an Indian passport holder. Ramaswami Natarajan's links with the Bhopal UCIL plant was well documented and it was hoped that the CBI would, without further delay, seek the presence of Ramaswami Natarajan before the CJM, Bhopal, to shed more light on the role of UCE (Hong Kong) in the disaster.
8 March 1995
BGPSSS and BGIA filed an application (I.A. No.4 in S.T. No.257/92) before the Court of the IXth Additional Sessions Judge, Bhopal, seeking clarification as to whether the cases against accused Nos.11 and 12 were before the Court as stated in the CJM's order dated 7/10/1994 in I.A. Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in MJC 91/92.
10 March 1995
Information on accused No.11, UCE (Hong Kong), which was received from the Hong Kong based groups supporting the cause of the Bhopal gas victims and which was handed over to the CBI on 7/3/1995 was also placed before the CJM.
23 March 1995
Final hearing of Cr.R.362/92 and other cases in the High Court at Jabalpur postponed to 26/4/1995.
31 March 1995
BGPSSS and BGIA filed an application (I.A. No.5 in MJC 91/92) before the CJM, Bhopal, seeking issuance of summons to Ramaswami Natarajan, a key official of UCE (Hong Kong). UCE is accused No.11 and a proclaimed offender in the Bhopal disaster case.
11 April 1995
Led by BGPMUS, a mass delegation of Bhopal gas victims came to Delhi to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Shri Narasimha Rao. Before listing out the demands pertaining to medical, economic and social rehabilitation, on the one hand, and the criminal case against Union Carbide, on the other, the memorandum stated the following: "This is the fifth memorandum to you submitted by the gas affected people in your office. Prior to this, thousands of suffering and helpless gas affected people traveled to Delhi, on dates such as 31/7/1991, 17/11/1991, 24/4/1992, 28/7/1993, etc., to present their memorandum in the hope that necessary and concrete action would be initiated to meliorate their suffering. We deeply regret the fact that not only have you disregarded initiating any action, even a formal acknowledgment of the memorandum was never sent to us. Still, we once again travel to Delhi with a lingering hope that even after a delay of one full decade, meaningful action would be initiated to redress the grievances of lakhs of victims, ending a long phase of injustice." This memorandum also did not evoke any response from the Prime Minister.
21 April 1995
The CBI filed a petition seeking dismissal of I.A. nos.4 and 5 in MJC 91/92 filed by BGPSSS and BGIA on 22/2/1995 and 31/3/1995 before the CJM, Bhopal.
26 April 1995
Final hearing of Cr.R.362/92 and other cases in the High Court postponed to 18/7/1995
5 May 1995
The CJM, Bhopal, dismissed the applications (I.A. Nos. 4 and 5 in MJC 91/92) filed by BGPSSS and BGIA on 20/2/1995 and 31/3/1995 on the basis of the objections raised by the CBI.
9 June 1995
The IXth Additional Sessions Judge, Bhopal, disposed of I.A. No.4 in S.T. No.257/92 filed by BGPSSS and BGIA on 8/3/1995. The Court did not grant locus standi in the trial to the applicants, because they had not sought permission under section 301 (2) of Cr.P.C. Nevertheless, the Court clarified that the committal order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated 22/6/1992 only related to accused Nos.2 to 9 and 12 and that the trial against accused Nos.10 and 11 had not been committed before the Court so far.
18-21 July 1995
After several adjournments, final hearing in the revision petitions filed by accused Nos.2 to 9 (Cr.R. Nos.237/93, 238/93, 311/93 and 312/93) against the order of the Bhopal Sessions Court dated 8/4/1992 in S.T. No.257/92 finally took place in the High Court (Jabalpur). Despite protests by BGPSSS, BGIA and BGPMUS, hearing of Cr.R. No.362/92 filed by UCIL on 11/8/1992 was arbitrarily postponed to 5/10/1995. [Curiously enough, UCIL never wanted its own petition (Cr.R. No.362/92) to be heard by the High Court. Nor did the CBI ever make any attempt during the past three years to get the stay on the appointment of a receiver (for the attached properties of UCC in R.T. No.2792/87) vacated. This is despite the fact that the scheduled date for the final hearing on the matter before the High Court was 19/11/1992.]
1 August 1995
The Jabalpur High Court dismissed the revision petitions (Cr.R. Nos. 237/93, 238/93, 311/93 and 312/93) filed by accused Nos.2 to 9 on 27/4/1993 against the order of the Sessions Court, Bhopal, dated 8/4/1993 in S.T. No.257/92. 20/9/1995 The sole Trustee of the Bhopal Hospital Trust filed an application (I.A. Nos.34 & 35 in C.A. No.3187-88/88) before the Supreme Court seeking an additional sum of Rs. 183 crores from the attached funds of UCC lying in the custody of the CJM, Bhopal. The amount was puported as required for expanding the proposed 260 bedded hospital into a 500 bedded one.
22 September 1995
BGPSSS and BGIA filed an application under section 301 (2) Cr.P.C before the IXth Additional Sessions Judge, Bhopal, for permission to appear on the side of and assist the prosecution in Sessions Trial 257/92 (trial against accused Nos.2 to 9 and 12 in the Bhopal gas leak disaster criminal case).
5 October 1995
UCIL withdraws its petition (Cr.R.362/92). After several inexplicable adjournments, the case was finally abandoned. Thus, the order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated 30/4/1992 in R.T.No.2792/92, attained finality after UCIL withdrew its revision petition (Cr.R. No.362/92 dated 11/8/1992) from the High Court on or about 5.10.1995.
16 October 1995
Accused Nos.2 and 3 filed SLPs (Cr.) Nos.3900 and 3901 before the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court dated 1/8/1995 in Cr.R. Nos.237/93 and 238/93. Subsequently two more SLPs (Nos.3932 and 3953) were filed before the Supreme Court by accused Nos.4 to 9 and 12 against the order of the High Court dated 1/8/1995 in Cr.R.Nos.311/93 and 312/93. All the SLPs were allowed and renumbered as Criminal Appeals Nos.1672-75 of 1996.
29 November 1995
BGPSSS and BGIA filed applications (I.A. Nos.36 & 37) in C.A. Nos.3187-88/88) before the Supreme Court in response to I.A. nos. 34 & 35 filed on 20/9/1995 by the sole Trustee, Ian Percival, of the Bhopal Hospital Trust. In their application, BGPSSS and BGIA prayed:
(1) that the name of Ian Percival, the sole Trustee, be deleted from the joint account holding of the accounts opened in the State Bank of India to be utilised for the proposed hospital as directed by the Supreme Court by orders dated 14/2/1994 and 20/10/1994;
(2) that Ian Percival should no longer allowed to be associated with the construction of the proposed hospital or permitted to handle any of the monies under attachment lying in the account held in the State Bank of India;
(3) that it will be the Union of India and the Union of India alone which will take all steps necessary to secure, utilise, and employ with the express prior approval of the Supreme Court, the monies lying in the accounts opened pursuant to the orders of the Supreme Court dated 14/2/1994 and 20/10/1994 in connection with the construction of the proposed hospital at Bhopal.
(4) that no further applications should be entertained at the instance of the so-called Bhopal Hospital Trust or its sole Trustee, Ian Percival, and the liberty given to them in the earlier orders of the Supreme Court should be withdrawn.
(5) that UCC should bear the entire expenses - both already incurred and those likely to be incurred - for providing complete medical care to the Bhopal gas victims and for their proper rehabilitation. Pending recovery of medical and rehabilitation expenses from UCC, the Government of India and the Government of Madhya Pradesh must raise adequate resources on its own to meet the requirements and not depend on the attached funds of UCC for the purpose.
(6) that UCC should furnish complete information regarding the toxic effects of MIC on human animal and plant life.
(7) that, pursuant to the orders dated 20/10/1994 in I.A. Nos. 30 & 31 in C.A. Nos.3187-88/88, Ian Percival be directed to furnish full accounts of all monies he has so far spent from the money allotted to the Trust from the sales proceeds of the attached properties of UCC in UCIL.
6 February 1996
In a supplementary affidavit filed in I.A. nos. 34 & 35 in C.A. nos. 3187-88/88, Ian Percival modified his earlier proposal dated 20/9/1995 with the following additions: the establishment of a cardio-thoracic unit; 10 primary/secondary centres with 20 in-patient beds each; and an unspecified research and teaching unit.
27 February 1996
On behalf of BGPSSS and BGIA an affidavit was filed by the IMCB before the Supreme Court as a counter proposal to the supplementary affidavit filed on 6/2/1996 by Ian Percival, the sole Trustee of the Bhopal Hospital Trust. In their affidavit, Dr.Marinus Verweij and Dr.Sushma Aquilla, who represented the IMCB, exposed the shortcomings in the plan put forward by Ian Percival and instead suggested a concrete alternate plan. The IMCB pointed out the following:
(1) that the plan put forward by Ian Percival was developed without inputs from medical professionals, particularly from those having experience in working with MIC-exposed patients and those with knowledge of comprehensive and primary care;
(2) that there was no need for further expansion of hospital beds; instead the focus should be on expansion of out-patient services such as development of community and primary health care systems;
(3) that while the most commonly reported ailments are respiratory disease, neurological disease, neuro-psychological disease, and eye disease, there was no evidence of cardiac disease amongst the gas affected victims of Bhopal;
(4) the IMCB model included the establishment of: 140 small community care centres; 16 new primary care centres without beds and refurbish 14 existing primary care centres; focus on research and clinical monitoring on long term effects of MIC exposure.
(5) that the IMCB proposed the setting up of a national medical commission on Bhopal to oversee the successful implementation of the proposed plan; 28/3/1996 Supplementary affidavit filed by IMCB.
2 April 1996
In a supplementary affidavit filed on behalf of BGPSSS and BGIA, the IMCB again reiterated the following:
1. that the central and the local governments had primarily concentrated over the past years on increasing the hospital-based services for gas victims. That there are at least 1690 beds available for the gas affected areas of Bhopal over and above the health facilities available for the general population of Bhopal.
2. that there was insufficient staff to run the new hospitals that have already been built at full capacity. The total number of beds (well over 2100 now) in Bhopal per capita, is nearly twice as high as recommended by the World Bank. Therefore, further expansion of the number of beds either in hospital or in primary/secondary care units, as in the Bhopal Hospital Trust plans, is certainly not required.
3. that there are many complaints of overcrowding at the hospital PDs. Absence of community and primary care in any situation would cause great problem for adequate health care delivery. This results in doctors feeling overburdened and unable to satisfy patient demands.
4. that patients with common ailments should be seen at the community level and those needing more specialised care could then be treated at the less crowded hospitals.
5. that in research or literature the IMCB found no evidence of cardiac disease amongst the gas affected victims whatsoever, that calls for a cardio-surgical unit [at considerable expense] as proposed by the Bhopal Hospital Trust. However, if very specialised care is called for, it will be in the field of respiratory medicine, neurological and neuro-psychological medicine.
3 April 1996
On the recommendations of the Empowered Committee, the Supreme Court accepted Ian Percival's plan of providing additional hospital beds and a cardio-thoracic unit. Accordingly, the Supreme Court in I.A. nos. 34 & 35 in C.A. nos.3187-88/88 directed that "out of the attached amount a sum of Rs.187 crores be released for the construction of the hospital, in favour of the Empowered Committee. The amount of Rs.187 crores together with interest accruing thereon up to the date of actual release and payment may be made available to the Empowered Committee to carry out the construction work." At the meeting of the Empowered Committee which rejected the proposals put forward by the IMCB there was only one medical doctor present and even that doctor had agreed that cardio-thoracic disease was not a disease induced by exposure to the toxic gases which escaped from the UCIL plant. The plans proposed by the Bhopal Hospital Trust seem to have been developed without professional health planning expertise and without the necessary details and practicalities required for successful implementation.
10 July 1996
BGPSSS and BGIA file petition seeking issuance of non-bailable warrants of arrest against UCC (USA) and UCE (Hong Kong) as a consequence of their continued non-appearance before the CJM, Bhopal, so that extradition proceedings in regard to these accused can be initiated.
16 August 1996
A delegation of BGPSSS and BGPMUS, along with a representatives of central trade unions, women, students and youth organisations and others, met Shri I.K.Gujral, Union Minister for External Affairs, and submitted a petition urging the Central Government to execute the order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated 27/3/1992, which directed the Government of India to seek the extradition of Warren Anderson, former chairman of UCC and accused No.1 in the Bhopal gas leak disaster case, from the United States of America to India to stand trial. The Minister assured the delegation that his ministry would not remain a stumbling block and that he would do all he could to expedite the process.
13 September 1996
Supreme Court dilutes charges against Indian officials of Union Carbide India Limited. In Criminal Appeals Nos.1672-75 of 1996, filed before the Supreme Court by accused Nos.2 to 9 and 12 in the Bhopal gas leak disaster case, the Court came to the following conclusion: "Even assuming that it was a defective plant and it was dealing with a very toxic and hazardous substance like MIC, the mere act of storing such a material by the accused in that [tank] no. 610 could not prima facie suggest that the concerned accused, thereby, had the knowledge that they were likely to cause the death of human beings... Consequently in our view... t could not be said that the said material [which the prosecution relied upon before the Trial Court] even prima facie called for framing of a charge against the concerned accused under Section 304 Part II IPC on the spacious plea that the said act of the accused amounted to culpable homicide only because the operation of the plant on that night ultimately resulted in the death of a number of human beings and cattle." [para 20]
"...In our view, therefore, on the material pressed in service by the prosecution, for framing charges against the accused no charge could have been framed against the concerned accused either under Section 304 Part II or under Section 324, 326 or 429, IPC with or without the aid of Section 35, IPC. On these findings of ours the appeals will be required to be quashed." [para 21]
"...However, that does not mean that on the material as it stands on record the accused cannot even prima facie be alleged to have committed any criminal offense for which they can be called upon to face the trial and that they should get a clean chit and clean walk-over." [para 22]
"...Consequently, we find that on the material led by the prosecution against the accused at this stage, a prima facie case was made out by the prosecution for framing charges against accused nos.2, 3, 4 and 12 under Section 304-A read with Section 35 IPC while substantive charges under Section 304-A could be framed against accused nos.5, 6, 7, 8 and 9." [para 23]
BGPSSS, BGIA and BGPMUS filed petitions before the Supreme Court to seek review of the judgement dated 13.9.1996. The petitions were summarily dismissed by the Court.
8 October 1996
In reply to the application filed by BGPSSS and BGIA on 10.7.1996, the CBI practically admitted that it was not pursuing charges against accused Nos. 10 and 11.
19 November 1996
CBI for the first time filed a statement before the CJM, Bhopal on the steps taken in the matter of extradition of Warren Anderson stating that the matter of extradition was being re-examined in the light of the Supreme Court judgement dated 13.9.1996.
10 November 1996
After nearly two years, the Supreme Court began hearing I.A. Nos.36 & 37 filed by BGPSSS and BGIA on 29.11.1995 which had challenged the bonafides of the sole Trustee of the Bhopal Hospital Trust. In response to one of the prayers, the Supreme Court directed the Sole Trustee, Ian Percival - the former Solicitor General of England, to submit details of the administrative expenses related to the construction of the hospital at Bhopal by 16th December, 1997. It was their contention that the sole Trustee was siphoning off funds meant for the hospital in the guise of administrative expense.
28 November 1996
BGPSSS, BGIA and BGPMUS again pleaded before the CJM, Bhopal to direct the CBI and the Government of India to seek extradition of Warren Anderson and authorised representatives of UCC (USA) and UCE (Hong Kong) to face criminal trial in India. Next hearing in the matter is scheduled for 19th December, 1997.
10 March 1997
The Supreme Court dismisses petition, seeking a review of its 1996 judgement diluting the charges framed against the accused by the trial court, filed by the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti (BGPSSS), without a reasoned order on March 10, 1997.
28 November 1997
BGPSSS, BGIA and BGPMUS again plead before the CJM, Bhopal to direct the CBI and the Government of India to seek extradition of Warren Anderson and authorised representatives of UCC (USA) and UCE (Hong Kong) to face criminal trial in India.
29 January 1998
Assistant works manager R.B. Roy Chowdhury, an accused in the case, died in USA.
13 August 1999
Union Carbide announces forthcoming merger with Dow Chemical Company. The merger agreement dated August 13, 1999, between Dow and UCC denies criminal liability in the Bhopal case and that any pending criminal prosecution exists against UCC. Article V of the Merger Agreement 214 states: “there are no (i) civil, criminal or administrative actions, suits, claims, hearings, investigations or proceedings pending or, to the actual knowledge of its executive officers, threatened against it or any of its Subsidiaries… except for those that are not, individually or in the aggregate, reasonably likely to have a Material Adverse Effect on it.” Agreement 214 Submitted with the Schedule 13D, as well as in other public filings before the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Several individual victims of the Bhopal disaster and survivors’ organizations file a class action suit against Union Carbide and Warren Anderson, in the Southern District Court of New York (federal court), charging Carbide with violating international human rights law, environmental law, and international criminal law. (Sajida Bano et al v. Union Carbide Corporation and Warren Anderson)
Class action suit by shareholder against Dow Chemical for their failure disclose Union Carbide’s Bhopal-related liabilities to the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Judge Keenan of the Southern District Court of New York Court (SDNY) summarily dismisses the class action suit filed by survivors. Lawyers acting for the survivor plaintiffs appeal the decision.
6 February 2001
Union Carbide Corporation merges with The Dow Chemical Company becoming 100% owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, USA. Dow inherits assets and liabilities of Union Carbide. However, Dow claims it is not responsible for a factory it didn’t operate. Survivors demand Dow should be held responsible for all medical and environmental liabilities in Bhopal and for the potential sentences of fine that may be imposed against UCC in the ongoing criminal trial against it. Dow's $10 billion acquisition of Union Carbide opens the possibility of enforcing criminal liability against the corporation as Dow has four subsidiaries and substantial assets in India.
28 February 2001
300 Bhopal survivors and 100 trade unionists and supporters besiege Dow Chemical's Indian headquarters in Bombay. Dow’s offices are occupied for more than four hours. The protesters hung banners from the building that read: "Dow: You Now Have Union Carbide's Blood on Your Hands" and "Killer Carbide is Now Dow Chemical" and demanded a formal meeting with the Dow leadership in India. A memorandum was handed over demanding that Dow assume the ongoing moral and legal liability for the 1984 disaster. The group also demanded that Dow stop production and marketing of Dursban in India, which had been severely restricted in the U.S. due to public health considerations.
Dow India files a lawsuit against the survivors for the demonstrations outside its Mumbai office.
India’s Attorney General gives opinion that “Efforts should not be made to extradite Warren Anderson as there was inadequate evidence to link Anderson directly to the gas leak."
7 September 2001
BGPSSS, BGIA and BGPMUS file application before CJM, urging the Court to serve notice on Dow to appear on behalf of UCC in the pending criminal case.
9 January 2002
Dow accepts Carbide’s liabilities in the U.S. and settles a Texas asbestos lawsuit originally filed against Union Carbide. Its share price skids 23 percent to close at $26.83 on Jan. 18. The plunge wipes out $7.16 billion in equity and put Dow shares back where they were in October 2000.
24 May 2002
CBI, working under the Home Ministry, applies in the CJM, to dilute outstanding charges against Warren Anderson, from "culpable homicide" to "criminal negligence". Whilst the former carries a possible sentence of ten years, the latter is up to two years and is not extraditable under the terms of the US-India extradition treaty. According to legal opinion, “It is not within the experience of the law that an accused who absconds and evades the process of law and justice is rewarded by dilution of charges."
29 June 2002
Launch of an indefinite hunger strike in Delhi by representatives of three survivors’ organizations over CBI’s proposal to lower criminal charges against Anderson.
17 July – 15 August 2002
Diane Wilson, member of a women’s collective named “Unreasonable Woman,” starts a 30-day hunger strike outside a Dow facility in Seadrift, Texas.
18 July 2002
After the collapse of two of the hunger strikers and the CJM’s postponement of a ruling on the dilution of charges, the Delhi hunger strike ends.
26 August 2002
Diane Wilson chains herself to a 70-foot ethylene oxide tower at the Dow plant in Seadrift, Texas and unfurls a banner that reads ‘Dow, responsible for Bhopal’. She is charged with criminal trespass.
28 August 28, 2002
Charges of culpable homicide against Warren Anderson reaffirmed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Kothe in Bhopal court. Court demands his immediate extradition from the U.S. to India.
29 August 2002
Following a lead from the UK's Daily Mirror, Greenpeace finds Warren Anderson and visits him at luxury home in New York, U.S: he has been in hiding for over a decade. Greenpeace serves him an arrest warrant.
12 September 2002
Diane Wilson and others sit on hunger strike for justice in Bhopal outside the UN building in NYC, where heads of State of both the USA and India addressed the UN general assembly.
13 September 2002
Diane Wilson and others protest outside Anderson's house in Bridgehampton, Long Island.
11 October 2002
CJM issues further warrant for arrest of Anderson under section 304, 324 and 429 read with section 35 of IPC. The arrest warrant was not executed by the US authorities and returned.
18 October 2002
School children demonstrate before the Bhopal district court during the hearing on the criminal case. The prosecution CBI tells the court that all paperwork related to Anderson's extradition is nearly complete. Reporting on the ongoing procedure of 'verification' of the merger between Union Carbide and Dow, Indian Central Bureau for Investigation representative, Mr. Sahay, states that he has appealed to the Union government to name Dow alongside its criminally absconding subsidiary Union Carbide. Once permission is granted, Dow Chemical will also be an accused in the case
21 – 23 October 2002
Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs, I D Swamy, and External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, in separate interviews tell reporters that India is proceeding with an application to extradite Carbide’s ex-CEO Warren Anderson from the U.S.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers sates in parliament that: “The investigation agency has been asked to strengthen the evidentiary links conne3cting Anderson to the Bhopal gas leakage tragedy so that the extradition request could be forwarded to the US government.”
11 November 2002
Plaintiffs organizations share documents from the discovery process of the U.S. class action suit with the Indian Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI). CBI acknowledges that the documents will be of great use for prosecution and the extradition of Warren Anderson.
14 November 2002
Survivors release documents obtained via discovery in the New York class action. Documents show that UCC imposed ‘unproven technology’ in the critical MIC unit in order to cut costs and retain control of their Indian subsidiary.
19 December 2002
Dow India files a lawsuit in the Mumbai High Court against the survivors, demanding about US$10,000 compensation for "loss of work" as a result of the survivors’ peaceful demonstration outside Dow gates.
26 March 2003
In a response to a letter of February 12, 2003, from Thomas J. Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce (kept classified) Secretary of State Colin Powell officially responded to direct pressure from the US Chamber of Commerce. “We have been following this issue since 1984 and are aware of the importance of this issue to the US business community. The Department of State has met several times with interested US parties, who have conveyed their concerns to us.”
8-9 April 2003
During the Criminal case court hearing in Bhopal, Judge Kothe asks the CBI to report in the next court hearing on the progress of Warren Anderson's extradition, and on the verification of merger between Dow-Carbide with a view to include Dow in the criminal case.
1 May 2003
email from Molly Warlow of the U.S. Department of Justice entitled “Mike or Bruce may start getting calls on Indian extradition request in Bhopal case”.
“I understand there had been extensive discussions with India in the past about (how) pursuing a criminal homicide case against UCC executives would not be helpful… A virtual who’s who of high-powered law firms have represented Union Carbide and Anderson, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and who knows who else with respect to the Bhopal case and potential civil and criminal action in India action (sic) UCC and its executives and have in the past met with various officials at State (and perhaps Justice)…”
20 May 2003
GoI conveys request to extradite Warren Anderson to the US Government via its embassy in Washington D.C.
16 July 2003
CBI submits merger documents to CJM and requests CJM to make a decision on inclusion of Dow in the criminal case. The court directs CBI to pursue speedy action on the extradition of Warren Anderson.
24 July 2003
Right to Information (RTI) documents obtained from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) reveal letter written to U.S. State Department review authority Archie M. Bolster by probably a U.S. industry representative (writer’s name not clear), explicitly stating that “the request [to extradite Mr. Anderson] should be rejected. No issue has greater potential to destroy U.S. business leaders’ confidence in India than the handling of the Warren Anderson case.” The extradition request was described as “sheer hypocrisy” and that its “chilling effect on American investment abroad cannot be overstated.”
Another letter, written by Linda Jacobson, Assistant Legal Adviser of the U.S. Law Enforcement and Intelligence Department, to Thomas J.Donohue, president and CEO of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says: “We are aware of the importance of this issue to the U.S. business community… we have learned a great deal about the concerns of the Union Carbide and the U.S. business community… we have also received and reviewed written documentation from the private sector related to these concerns.”
26 February 2004
Bhopal Group for information & Action (BGIA) files application before CJM asking that the Court issue a Letter Rogatory for International judicial assistance from US Department of Justice to serve summon/ notice/ warrant upon Dow at its headquarters in Midland, Michigan, to produce Union Carbide Corporation to face trial at the court.
29 April 2004
Ministry of External Affairs asks US Embassy, New Delhi, to notarize documents requesting the extradition of Anderson.
18 May 2004
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) members meet with CBI to discuss the slow pace of the hearings, inclusion of Dow as accused, and follow up on Anderson’s Extradition.
7 June 2004
U.S. government rejects GoI request to extradite Anderson. Experts voiced concerns over the decision and article 2(1) of the Indo-U.S. extradition treaty as its basis, which requires the person for extradition to be charged with an offence for which he could be punishable in the U.S. for more than a year. Culpable homicide, for which Anderson was charged, is equivalent to manslaughter in the U.S. for which a person could be punished for more than a year.
16 June 2004
The Bhopal Court issues a notice to Dow to appear in the court in the context of ongoing criminal case against Union Carbide.
13 July 2004
US government rejects Warren Anderson’s extradition request. The rejection was on technical grounds like non-framing of charges against Warren Anderson in the ongoing criminal case in Bhopal district court.
26 July 2004
Unclassified documents prepared by the U.S. Consul, Mumbai, mention the advice of the Attorney-General of India, in 2001, to the government that “efforts should not be made to extradite Mr. Anderson as there was inadequate evidence to link him directly to the cause of the gas leak… GoI officials may feel that, for political reasons, they need to be perceived as being concerned about extraditing Mr. Anderson. Although this does not currently appear to be a high priority bilateral issue for the GoI.”
3 September 2004
BGIA filed further application at the CJM court
3 September 2004
Dow files reply stating that DCIPL has no relationship Dow. It also claimed that Dow did not merge with Union Carbide but, in fact, a company called Transnational.
10 September 2004
BGIA filed additional submission at the CJM court in response to Doe statement on DCIPL
6 January 2005
Chief Judicial Magistrate passes order to issue summons against The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC), Midland USA, REQUIRING DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY, USA TO STATE WHY IT SHOULD NOT BE ASKED TO PRESENT ABSCONDING ACCUSED UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION IN THE ONGIONG CRIMINAL CASE
Mumbai based Dow Chemical International Private Limited (DCIPL) file an Appeal before the M.P. High Court seeking quashing of the order of CJM, Bhopal dated 6 Jan 2005. (Case No. MCRC 1377/2005 filed in MP High Court despite previously claiming that it “has no direct nexus either in terms of holdings or in terms otherwise with TDCC USA and/or UCC.” [DCIPL’s affidavit before CJM, Bhopal, dated 03 September 2004].
17 March 2005
High Court Judge (Mr. Rakesh Saxena) grants stay on summons against The Dow Chemical Company, and lists matter for 27 April 2005,
Given that DCIPL was not a party aggrieved or in any way affected by the 6 January 2005 order of the Bhopal CJM, there is no legal basis for entertaining DCIPL’s appeal or granting a stay on the Bhopal CJM’s order.
27 April 2005
Justice U.C. Maheswari approves Stay on summoning Dow and extends it till further orders.
8 July 2005
Justice Ajit Singh approves Stay on summoning Dow and extends it till further orders.
18 August 2005
High Court’s Order directs that Notices be issued to all applicants within a week. No notices were ever served to Bhopal Group for Information and Action- the original applicants.
15 February 2006
Judge A.K. Shrivastav continues Stay on summoning Dow but asks the matter to be listed after four weeks for final hearing.
The case is listed several times for Final hearing as per the MP High Court website, but no hearing takes place before July 2012. Case goes to following judges for final hearings: Sugandhilal Jain; Suresh Chandra Sinho; P,K. Jaiswal; U.C. Maheshwari; M.A. Siddiqui; Rakesh Saxena; Tarun Kumar Kaushal; G.S. Solanki; N.K. Gupta; R.C. Mishra
A divisional bench of India’s Supreme Court once again rejects appeals asking for reopening the debate over adequacy of settlement fund.
4 May 2007
Petition from BGPMUS and BGPSSS to re-examine the inadequacy of Bhopal Gas Settlement and rectify failings with its administration dismissed by Supreme Court.
27 July 2007
Cable from U.S. embassy, New Delhi, to the U.S. State Department, discussing Bhopal legal cases pending against Dow Chemical: “Despite significant USG and company efforts… involving a number of high level interventions by the Ambassador and visiting Cabinet officials, these cases have lingered without positive GoI action… Embassy New Delhi will continue to forcefully press for a resolution of these two cases, both on their own merits, and as a GoI signal that US-India economic relations are key to the bilateral agenda.”
A cable sent by Deputy Chief of Mission, in New Delhi, Steven J White says, “During the CEO forum event in October 2006, GoI officials including Commerce Minister Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated that they welcomed further Dow investment in India and did not believe that Dow was responsible for the disaster site clean-up."
18 September 2007
US Ambassador David Mulford is reported to be urging the Government of India to “drop its claims against Dow”. In reply Ahluwalia assures the Ambassador that the Government of India does not hold Dow responsible for the cleanup but is unable to withdraw its claims against Dow because of “active and vocal NGOs". According to the cable Ahluwalia then advised the Ambassador to discuss the issue of Dow’s Bhopal liabilities with Finance Minister Chidambaram.
22 July 2009
Court issues further non-bailable arrest warrant against Anderson.
17 September 2009
Bhopal Group for Information and Action file application before MP High Court for urgent hearing
22 February 2010
In the course of the hearing of the Indian accused at the CJM court, evidence was produced by defence witness No.8, T.R. Raghuraman, that on January 7, 1982, Warren Woomer, works manager at UCIL, Bhopal, had taken the decision to shut off the refrigeration system to the MIC storage tanks. According to him, this was evident from the Technical Instruction Note (Document No.37 dated January 12, 1982, exhibit no.46), which the prosecution had submitted as evidence before the court.
He also revealed that the UCC's inspection team that prepared the Operational Safety Survey Report in May 1982 had not opposed that decision. Neither accused No.5, J. Mukund, who succeeded Warren Woomer as works manager, nor any of the other accused officials of UCIL did anything to reverse the decision, which left huge quantities of MIC in the storage tanks at ambient temperature, which always ranged between 15o Celsius and 40o Celsius. For safe storage MIC should be stored at 50C or below.
This evidence had never been before the Supreme Court; BGPSSS and BGPMUS argued that, in light of it, the accused officials of UCIL would seem to have had prior knowledge of the disastrous consequence of their acts of commission and omission. The charges of culpable homicide should, thus, be restored.
In their application, both the BGPSSS and the BGPMUS said that they were aware that amending the charges against the accused, on the basis of new evidence against them, would entail further trial but believed it a necessary process in the interest of justice. Rather than consider this application on merit, the CJM dismissed it, saying he was bound by the Supreme Court's 1996 judgment.
26 May 2010
‘Group of Ministers’ (GoM) reconstituted in advance of criminal verdict of Indian accused. Additional material in support of the request for extradition of Warren Anderson recommended by the GoM.
7 June 2010
Indian accused convicted of lesser charges and issued the maximum sentences of two years. As of September 2018, they remain at liberty, their convictions unsettled, and the likelihood of custodial sentences being served ever more remote.
21 June 2010
Group of Ministers (GOM) meeting, following conviction of Indian accused (UCIL), GOM stipulates that timeline for pursuing UCC and/ or successor company would be 14 August 2010. Ministry of Law and Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals on the advice of Attorney General would move on this matter.
“Separately CJM Bhopal issued summons on 6.1.2005 to Dow Chemicals Company, US. Subsequently the company filed an appeal in the High Court and on 17.3.2005, the High Court stayed the order issuing summons.
"The liability of Dow Chemicals Company is being contested in these and other proceedings by the said company. It is essential that the question of liability of Dow Chemicals Company should be first settled before any proceedings can be taken against the company.
"Hence, GOM recommends that Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and CBI may be directed to file appropriate applications/motions before the Courts concerned and request the courts, especially the High Court to expeditiously decide the question of liability of Dow Chemicals Company and/or any other successor to UCC/UCIL. Once this question is decided the various legal proceedings involving Dow Chemicals Company and any other person/company found liable can be taken forward.”
30 July 2010
In response to an email plea for support in relaxing borrowing limits for India at the World Bank, from Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Government of India, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman (and close advisor to President Obama) replies:
"We are aware of this issue and will look into it. While I've got you, we are hearing a lot of noise about the Dow Chemical issue. I trust that you are monitoring it carefully. I am not familiar with all the details, but I think we want to avoid developments which put a chilling effect on our investment relationship."
21 September 2010
Solicitor General of India (Mr. Gopal Subramanium) states:
“In my opinion it does not appear necessary to file a separate application. Since the CBI is a party, it would be appropriate if submission is urged by the CBI in the said application in accordance with instructions from the Central Government.”
28 Feb 2011
A five-judge Supreme Court bench said it will hear on day-to-day basis from April 13 the plea for restoration of culpable homicide charges against the eight accused and enhancement of compensation for the victims.
18 March 2011
Mr. Rakesh Aggarwal, Dy Inspector General of Police, CBI, AC.I, New Delhi writes to the Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs seeking clarification on the opinion of Attorney General.
“The CBI wanted to know the nature of the application that has to be filed in the High Court in terms of the advice by the Solicitor General that the same is to be “in accordance with instruction from the Central Government”
21 March 2011
Solicitor General clarifies CBI query:
The expression “in accordance with instructions from the Central Government” is intended to mean such directions as are issued by the Central Government parens partria, in the larger interests of Public Justice including the victims. Thus, I conclude that
CBI may request the High Court to take up the matter at the earlier and determine the liability of M/s Dow Chemicals. Urge necessary submissions in this regard Since the CBI is the prosecution agency, and if the matter can be mentioned before the Court, that would suffice. If it becomes imperative for the Court to receive any formal application seeking early hearing, then the same may be filed. There is no need for any further application since the Trial Court had issued notice and the High Court is seized of the matter.
22 Mar 22 2011
CBI moves Delhi court to obtain a Letter Rogatory to extradite Anderson from the United States to face trial in India.
23 Mar 2011
Delhi court allows CBI plea seeking to extradite Anderson from the US.
24 March 2011
GOM meeting held and a copy of the opinion of the Solicitor General given to representative of CBI.
22 September 2011
Representatives of five Bhopal survivor organizations write to Director, CBI, GoM on Bhopal and Prime Minister regarding urgent intervention in the matter of summoning The Dow Chemical Company, USA as the 100 % owner of absconding UCC, USA in the criminal case on the Bhopal disaster.
3 November 2011
Representatives of five Bhopal survivor organizations meet Mr. Prabodh Kumar, HOZ of Anti Corruption Unit I, urging CBI to file an urgent application for vacation of stay against summoning The Dow Chemical Company. As per the GOM’s March 2011 decision, the application should have been filed by August 2010
2 January 2012
CBI files the application for urgent hearing in the MP High Court.
7 March 2012
DCIPL files application for adjourning case. Granted by the High Court. While BGIA though its counsel Mr. Avninder Singh opposes adjournment, CBI’s counsel does not oppose DCIPL’s application for adjournment.
26 March 2012
DCIPL files application for adjourning case. Granted by the High Court. BGIA opposes adjournment but not CBI
9 May 2012
DCIPL files application for adjourning case. Granted by the High Court. BGIA opposes adjournment but not CBI
5 July 2012
DCIPL files application for adjourning case. Granted by the High Court. BGIA opposes adjournment but not CBI
23 August 2012
DCIPL filed an application for adjourning the case. BGIA opposes the adjournment but not CBI. Justice G S Solanki directs that the matter be set for final hearing on September 13.
13 September 2012
Justice G S Solanki hears matter and reserves judgement.
19 October 2012
Order vacates Stay on summoning Dow, USA before the court of CJM when the High Court finally upheld the validity of the CJM’s Order dated 06.01.2005.
30 November 2012
BGPSSS & BGPMUS Application dated 30.11.2012 in MJC No.91/1992 brings the ruling of the High Court to the attention of the CJM.
19 January 2013
BGIA moves application in Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Bhopal for starting procedure to send summons to Dow Chemical Company
23 February 2013
BGIA argues in the matter on why summons needs to be reissued to The Dow Chemical Company in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court
5 March 2013
At CJM Court hearing, BGIA remind CJM that the stay against order of January 6, 2005 issuing summons to Dow was lifted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court on 19 October 2012, giving rise to three options of sending summons to Dow: (1) By sending request by registered A.D. to the Under Secretary (Legal) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, (2) By registered A.D. to Embassy of India in Washington DC, (3) By registered A.D to US Embassy in India.
CBI support application, agreeing with summoning methods suggested by BGIA, with a request to the Ministry of Home Affairs as preferred option. BGIA state that, given the importance of the matter and following the principle of abundant caution, all three methods of summoning should be followed.
Replying to an RTI query, Ministry of External Affairs said it had sent a formal request to the US for the extradition of Anderson in April 2011.
20 March 2013
BGIA presents arguments on summoning to CJM hearing, Bhopal.
2 April 2013
CBI presents status report on extradition of Warren Anderson and matter of summons postponed for next hearing.
24 May 2013
BGIA presents arguments on summoning to CJM, Bhopal
6 June 2013
4 July 2014
Non-appearance of Dow Chemical Company at hearing of the criminal case in the Bhopal District Court. Date put back to November.
5 July 2013
Case listed for orders
24 July 2013
CJM re-issues notice to Dow
1 March 2014
CJM re-issues notice to Dow
4 August 2014
CJM issues third summons to Dow to attend CJM hearing on 12 November, 2014. The company is called to explain why it has not produced its wholly-owned subsidiary UCC before the court.
29 September 2014
Warren Anderson dies, aged 92, in a Florida nursing home. His death was not announced, being only confirmed from public records, and giving rise to speculation that the lack of announcement was designed so as not to draw attention to the Bhopal Disaster issue in light of its impending 30th anniversary.
U.S. authorities played a central role in preventing Anderson from facing trial with: Ronald Reagan intervening on Dec 6, 1984 and Henry Kissinger in '85; U.S. State and Justice Depts involved in foot dragging between 1987-9; and, from 2003 on, India's extradition requests intimately discussed with various special interest business groups and individuals; lawyers for Union Carbide and Dow received emails concerning the 2004 U.S. rejection of this request some time before the Indian government; U.S. authorities sat on the final extradition request for the last 3.5 years before Anderson’s death.
By way of contrast, at the height of the U.S. pursuit of Edward Snowden, the U.S. was outraged when Hong Kong - with whom it doesn't share an extradition treaty - didn't act on their extradition request within nine days.
Indian authorities were highly complicit in enabling Anderson to complete his escape from justice: MP State authorities and Rajiv Gandhi's govt. conspired to unlawfully release Anderson from non-bailable charges in 1984; Indian govt. and the Supreme Court agreed to compound criminal charges in the 1989 settlement; Indian ministries deliberately delayed extradition proceedings throughout the 1990's, and instructed the CBI not to pursue the foreign accused; only a high profile hunger strike and a parliamentary rebuke forced the 1st extradition request. India has done nothing to force the U.S. to expedite any requests.
November 12, 2014
Non-appearance of Dow Chemical Company at hearing of the criminal case in the Bhopal District Court.
CJM re-issues notice to Dow
16 March 2015
Non-appearance of Dow Chemical Company at hearing of the criminal case in the Bhopal District Court.
Survivor organisations condemned the actions of Dow Chemical’s lawyer, Sanjay Gupta, alleging that he obtains information on the case through bribing court officials. A member of the survivors’ organisations claimed to have been physically attacked by Gupta when objections to his activities were raised in court.
17 March 2015
Letter addressed to Prime Minister of India from five organisations representing survivors of the disaster in Bhopal: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh (BGPMSKS), Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha (BGPMPSM), Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha (BGPNPSM), Bhopal Group for Information and Action (GGIA), Children Against Dow Carbide. Subject: “Call for Action against American Dow Chemical Company for willful and repeated disregard of the directions of the Bhopal district Court in the criminal case on the worst industrial disaster in Bhopal.”
Letter explains that Dow has been harboring an absconder from the criminal case in the Bhopal District Court and has ignored the orders of the Indian courts by failing to appear on two occasions.
17 March 2015
Letter address to Barrack Obama, President of the US from the five survivor organisations. Subject: “Non-appearance of Dow Chemical Company, USA in response to notice issued by District Court Bhopal, India in the criminal case on the worst industrial disaster in world history.”
Letter explains failure of Dow to respond to direction of Indian Courts, pointing out that the Departments of State and Justice of the US government were fully involved as per the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in serving notice.
25 September 2015
Third court notice sent by India’s Ministry of External Affairs to the U.S. DoJ for serving upon Dow receives formal response as Dan E.Stigall, Trial Attorney, DoJ, queries grounds upon which India has forwarded “Notice to Appear” and cites ‘separate corporate personality’ arguments to query its validity.
However, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed by both countries insists upon timely action by both states and only allows rejection of requests which concern an offense under military law that is not an offense under ordinary criminal law; if the execution of the request would prejudice the security or similar essential interests of the Requested State; if the request relates to a political offense; or if the request is not made in conformity with the Treaty. See: http://cbi.nic.in/interpol/mlat/UnitedStatesofAmerica.pdf
December 19, 2015
Five survivor organisations state that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has informed CBI it has decided not to serve notice against Dow believing that Dow could not be held liable for the disaster.
Counsel for BGIA, Avi Singh said the DoJ’s refusal to serve notice was against the principle of international cooperation against crime as enshrined in the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Mr. Singh explained that Dow refers to the Bhopal court notice on its own website, thus publicly acknowledged the summons, and there was no further need for notice to be served on Dow.
Mr. Singh moved an application in the court to commence ex parte proceedings against Dow, as well as refer it for contempt of court, and filing of a FIR under sections 174 (obstruction of a public official) and 212 (harboring a fugitive) of the IPC. The application by the BGIA also sought commencement of the criminal trial against UCC.
BGIA said it was the third hearing at which Dow had ignored notice and failed to appear in the Bhopal district court.
1 February 2016
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) forwards notice requiring Dow to attend court to the U.S. Department of Justice.
15 June 2016
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) forwards notice requiring Dow to attend court to the U.S. Department of Justice.
11 July 2016
CBI informs CJM that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had forwarded the notice to the U.S. Department of Justice on 01.02.2016 and a reminder on 15.06.2016.
19 November 2016
BGPSSS & BGPMUS file application urging the CJM, Bhopal to proceed ex parte for consideration of Application dated 07.09.2001 in terms of the orders of the CJM dated 15.06.2004 and 06.01.2005 and proceedings against the Dow Chemical Company for willful violation of summons of the CJM.
13 January 2017
CJM issues fifth summons to Dow Chemical. A new procedure allows the Bhopal courts to serve notices by electronic means and summons is served directly by email on Ms. Amy Wilson, Corporate Secretary and Associate General Counsel of Dow.
15 December 2017
Hearing before the CJM