New Delhi: The world’s worst industrial disaster, Bhopal Gas Tragedy which killed 6,000 people and maimed more than 600 thousand people is scheduled to be examined by the Supreme Court of India in April 2019. The center has filed a petition in the supreme court and has sought an additional Rs. 7,844 crore from the Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals, alleging that the settlement of 1989 for USD 470 Million was grossly inadequate.
Additional solicitor general Madhavi Divan requested a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna for early hearing on the curative petition filed by the Centre seeking Rs 7,844 crore more from Union Carbide given the vast increase in the number of deaths and those injured from the leak of killer methyl isocyanate gas from its Bhopal factory on the night of December 2, 1984.
The bench agreed to list the petition for hearing in April along with other applications which support the Centre’s claim for additional money from UCC and Dow Chemicals. But the going will not be easy given the fact that in 1989, the then government had entered into a settlement with UCC for $470 million under the supervision of the SC itself.
The Curative petition has also prayed for stricter punishment for the convicts stating that the accused had full knowledge of the fatal design flaws of the plant. The petition states,
“The Accused, and others, had full knowledge that the MIC plant in Bhopal India was designed with fatal design flaws, including the complete lack of any emergency remediation facilities to counter a runaway reaction of the MIC stored.”
The material used in the plant for storage of the toxic gas was sub-standard and was “seemingly motivated by the desire to increase profits with reckless disregard to human life.” The petition further states that not only was there no evacuation plan in case of a leak, but the safety siren was not working on the night of the incident.
“The safety and maintenance of the MIC factory was, with full knowledge of the consequences, fatally disregarded. None of the safety features were working.”