Govt moves SC for additional compensation

Outside the Union Carbide factory, 3rd December 1984

From Hindustan Times online

Government on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking enhancement of compensation from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700 crore for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in which more than 5000 people were killed due to leakage of poisonous gas from the Union Carbide factory. The filing of curative petition coincided with the 26th anniversary of tragedy in which the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has sought re-examination of the apex court’s February 14, 1989 judgement by which the compensation was fixed at 470 million dollars (Rs 750 crore) and subsequent orders of February 15 and May 4 determining the mode of payment and settlement.

The apex court had also dismissed the petition to review its judgements and orders on October 3, 1991.

The petition filed by the centre in the capacity of legal guardian of the victims of the world’s largest industrial disaster has sought payment of additional damages from Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), Dow Chemicals Company (which owns UCC since 2001), Mcleod Russel India having 50.9% share-holding of UCIL and UCIL, which is currently known as Eveready Industries Ltd.

The curative petition settled by attorney general G E Vahanvati has contended that the figure of 470 million dollar was arrived by the apex court on “incorrect and wrong assumption of facts and data in the impugned judgments”.

The Centre has submitted that the apex court in its 1989 judgment had observed that the settlement was based on certain ‘assumptions of truth’ and if they said that assumptions are unrelated to ‘realities’, then the ‘element of justness’ of the settlement would seriously be impaired and liberty was given to approach the court.

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.