On the 19th October 2012 the High Court in Madhya Pradesh ruled the lift of the stay against summoning of The Dow Chemical Company in the criminal case of the 1984 gas disaster.
Friday’s lift of the stay means that legal action can take place to ensure Dow Chemical fulfills its liabilities of producing its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) before the court.
On the 26th February 2004 survivors group The Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) had filed an appeal in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Bhopal asking that Dow Chemical be made to fulfill its liabilities in the ongoing criminal case.
Union Carbide has been absconding justice since February 1992. However, Dow Chemical had appealed against the lower court order in the High Court which granted stay on it in March 2005. In the last 20 years the American authorities have made no attempt to produce the absconding UCC in court.
Over the page 7.5 years the matter has come before more than 10 judges including Justices Sungandhi Lal Jain, Suresh Chandar Sinho, P.K. Jaiswal, U.C. Maheshwari, M.A, Siddiqui, Rakesh Saxena, Tarun Kumar Kaushal, N.K. Gupta, R.C. Mishra and G.S. Solanki who finally passed the order last week.
The survivors groups in Bhopal see it is a big step towards making Union Carbide face trial in India, which it has been absconding for last 20 years. The Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) said that it was “a victory of their legal action in this matter after 8 years of struggle”.
The groups hope that as a result of last week’s event, Dow Chemical, which had taken over Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in 2001, will be issued summons for appearing in court in Bhopal, By acquiring Union Carbide Corporation, Dow has also taken over all its assets and liabilities, especially with regard to Bhopal gas tragedy and the thousands who continue to suffer from its debilitating effects.