The trial in the Bhopal gas tragedy case saw 19 judges presiding over it after the charge sheet was filed in December 1987.
The CBI filed the charge sheet in Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) A Sisodia’s court on December 1, 1987 here. CJM R.C. Mishra heard the case of the world’s worst industrial disaster from September 30, 1988.
After him, Lal Singh Bhati heard the case from July 26, 1989 to November 27, 1991. It was followed by CJM Gulab Sharma, who referred it to session court on June 22, 1992.
Thereafter, it was heard by Session Judge S.P. Khare from July 13, 1992. The case came before two more judges in July 17, 1992 and November 29, 1995. Session Judge R.G. Phapdke heard the case from September 24, 1996 and the matter was sent back to the CJM’s courts following the Supreme Court amendments diluting the charges in 1996.
Seven more judges heard the case before it came to Judicial Magistrate Mohan P. Tiwari on February 21, 2009. He pronounced the eight accused guilty on Monday.
The First Information Report (FIR) on the Bhopal Gas Disaster was filed on December 3, 1984 and the case was transferred to the CBI on December 6, 1984.
The CBI filed the charge sheet after investigation on December 1, 1987.
Subsequently, the CJM framed charges against the accused under Section 304 Part (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), Section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and other relevant Sections of IPC.
After the accused moved the Supreme Court, it amended the charges on September 13, 1996 to 304 (A) (causing death by negligence), 336 (acts endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by endangering life or personal safety of others) and other Sections of the IPC.
178 prosecution witnesses
The first prosecution witness deposed in the CJM court on September 29, 1997 and the last on August 3, 2005, 178 prosecution witnesses recorded their statement and the prosecution placed 3,009 documents.
The first defence witness deposed on June 27, 2009 and the last one of the eight recorded his statement on February 22. Out of the nine accused, B. Roy Choudhary, the then former Assistant Works Manager UCIL, Mumbai, died during the trial.