From January 28 onwards, a 5-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and Ravindra Bhat will commence hearing the curative petition by the Centre pertaining to the Bhopal Gas tragedy matter. Originally, the Centre had sought an early listing of the curative plea filed in December 2010. While the SC had directed the listing of the matter in April 2019, the date was eventually pushed to January 2020.
Bhopal Gas tragedy: Supreme Court's 5-judge bench to hear from Jan 28, a 2010 plea by Centre for direction to Union Carbide to pay enhanced settlement amount & reimbursement of relief and rehab expenses incurred by state and central governments in 1984. pic.twitter.com/KKELhJcZLc— ANI (@ANI) January 25, 2020
In its judgment delivered in 1989, the SC had ordered Union Carbide to pay a compensation of $470 million. However, the Centre contends that this was based on a wrong number of injuries and deaths. For instance, the curative plea mentions that 5,295 people died while 70,000 suffered injuries in the tragedy. The earlier figure of casualties was pegged at 3,000. Therefore, the Centre has sought additional compensation of Rs.7,000 crore. Moreover, the curative plea seeks stricter punishment for the convicted Union Carbide executives who allegedly had full knowledge of the fatal design flaws of the pesticide plant in Bhopal.
There was a massive calamity in Bhopal on December 3, 1984, when the leak of poisonous gas from the Union Carbide pesticide plant killed thousands of people. While the initial death toll was speculated to be less than 3,000, the activists fighting for the Bhopal Gas tragedy estimate that nearly 8,000 to 10,000 people passed away in the tragedy. While Warren Anderson, the Chairman of Union Carbide who was the main accused in the case absconded from legal proceedings in India, a Bhopal court convicted 7 persons associated with the company and sentenced them to two-year imprisonment. Anderson passed away in 2014.