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HomeIndiaSupreme Court rejects demand for higher compensation for Bhopal gas victimsNews...

Supreme Court rejects demand for higher compensation for Bhopal gas victimsNews WAALI

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In the hearing held on Tuesday, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the Central Government’s curative petition. In this petition, the Center sought additional compensation of Rs 7,400 crore from the American company Union Carbide for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

In rejecting the petition, the court said that there was gross negligence in compensation for victims in the gas tragedy, the court reprimanded the Center for this negligence. The court said that the Government of India should use the amount of Rs 50 crore lying with the RBI to meet the pending claims of the gas tragedy.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul referred to the previous case related to the incident before the Supreme Court. These clearly indicated that the compensation amount of $470 million was sufficient to meet the current and future claims of the victims. The bench said that the matter cannot be reopened again after two decades.

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A five-member bench of Justice Sanjeev Khanna, Justice AS Oka, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JK Maheshwari said the government had given an undertaking to the court in 1991. According to that undertaking, the insurance policy for the victims had been prepared, the court also reprimanded the government for not preparing the insurance policy. The court considered this to be negligence on the part of the government and said that even if there is any financial shortfall, it is the government’s job to settle them.

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Through a curative petition filed in 2010, the government had asked the court to reconsider the orders of 1989 and 1991. In filing the petition, the government argued that the 470 million compensation settlement made in 1989 was completely inadequate. So Union Carbide should be asked to pay more. The government had sought additional compensation of over Rs 7,400 crore from the company.

On 2 December 1984, more than 5,000 people were killed when toxic methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. The latest official estimate presented to the court puts the number of deaths at 5,295 and the number of people suffering from serious illness at 40,399.

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The Bhopal gas tragedy is considered to be the greatest man-made tragedy ever. Because more than 16000 thousand people lost their lives, more than eight thousand people died within two weeks of two gas leaks.

In response to the petition filed by the central government, the court said it ‘has full sympathy with the victims but cannot turn its back on the facts’. In 1989, when the settlement was being made, the government was present in court. At the time the government did not even think that the order needed to be reviewed. It took 25 years for the government to understand that the amount of compensation was less. You will ask to reopen the case even after 100 years. You walked out of court after the settlement’.


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