1984 Bhopal gas tragedy: SC Verdict Today On Centre’s Plea Seeking Enhanced Compensation For Victims


The Supreme Court on Tuesday will pronounce its verdict on the Centre’s curative petition for enhanced compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy from US-based firm Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, reported India Today. 

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice S K Kaul reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments on the curative petition for additional compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Centre has sought additional compensation to the tune of Rs 7,844 crore from Dow Chemicals for the victims of the 1984 tragedy which claimed more than 3,000 lives and caused enormous damage to the environment.

The Centre had filed a curative petition in the apex court in December 2010 for enhanced compensation.

During the hearing, successor firms of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, said that the Centre’s stand that the depreciation of the rupee since 1989, when a settlement was arrived at, cannot be a ground to now seek a top-up of compensation for the victims.

“There are series and series of affidavits starting from 1995 and ending as late as 2011, where the Union of India has opposed every single attempt to suggest that the settlement (of 1989) is inadequate. Affidavits upon affidavits were filed,” Salve said.

“Go back to 1989 and just compare, but that (depreciation) cannot be a ground for top-up. That is the long and short of their submission,” Salve said, adding the settlement of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) had taken place because a judicial order was passed by a district judge in 1987.

Salve then cited as to how the contamination in the soil was first discovered in 1997 after the CBI had taken over the entire premises of the fertiliser manufacturing unit in 1984 following the tragedy and the government of Madhya Pradesh had cancelled the lease to the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL).

He also referred to several conspiracy theories related to the case, saying there was one which claimed the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had met Warren Anderson in a hotel in Paris before the settlement. He said Anderson had by then retired as the UCC chairperson.

The survivors of the tragedy have been fighting for a long time for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the poisonous gas leak.

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