Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Survivors claim SC judgement shows bias for UCC – a proclaimed absconder

By Pervez Bari

BHOPAL – Five organizations of survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal presented their detailed response at a press conference here to the decision of the Supreme Court that was made available online on March 15, 2023.

Earlier, the organizations had condemned the decision on the day the Curative Petition for additional compensation for the disaster was dismissed by the Bench on March 14.

Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said: “The Supreme Court Bench has deliberately ignored arguments against Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), using fraudulent means to settle the case on the disaster in February 1989. Our lawyer who the Court named and attempted to shame, in fact presented documentary evidence of Union Carbide’s representative misleading Indian government officials into believing that majority of survivors suffered only temporary injuries. There is not a word in the decision about this.”

“The Court’s claim that Bhopal survivors received six times more compensation than that provided under the Motor Vehicles Act is overwhelmingly false”, said Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangarsh Morcha. “The MV Act of 1988 stipulates payment of Rs. 50 thousand to Rs. 2.5 lakhs to victims of injury depending on its severity and the number of Bhopal victims who have received six times the minimum amount is less than 1 per cent of the claimants” he added.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action said: “The judges have displayed ignorance of the basic fact that contamination of groundwater in Bhopal by Union Carbide’s hazardous waste predates the gas disaster of 1984 and is unrelated to it. They chose to ignore that the ongoing contamination is due to unsafe dumping of poisonous waste before and after the disaster by Union Carbide. Also ignored by them was the condition of returning the land in its original condition under which Union Carbide had taken the land on lease.”

Said Nawab Khan President of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Pursh Sangarsh Morcha: “Nowhere in 34-page decision is there any indication that the judges are even remotely familiar with the scientific facts on medical consequences of exposure to Union Carbide’s leaked gas. There is nothing in it to show that the judges had any understanding of the chronic nature of exposure induced diseases among the Bhopal survivors”.

“While the decision claims to be sympathetic to the survivors, the Bench’s derisive attitude towards the survivors’ organizations is clear in the manner it describes them throughout the decision”, said Nousheen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide.

“The judges have also made their bias for Union Carbide by completely omitting to mention that the corporation continues to abscond from the criminal case on the disaster”, she added.


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