A legal panel has recommended Madhya Pradesh government to another curative petition to address the “inadequacy of the compensation” for Bhopal gas tragedy victims.
The Madhya Pradesh government will be filing a curative petition in the Supreme Court to revive charges of culpable homicide (section 304II of the IPC) against the accused in the Bhopal gas leak case.
The petition will challenge the 1996 judgment and review order of the Supreme Court in which Justice A.M. Ahmadi had diluted the charges against the accused from section 304II to 304A of the IPC.
The decision was taken on Thursday based on the recommendations of the six-member legal committee, headed by Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha, set up by the State government in the aftermath of the June 7 judgment of the CJM court in Bhopal.
The panel, among other recommendations, suggested the passing of legislation in the State Assembly for preventive action and disaster management so that tragedies like the gas leak are not repeated.
The filing of a curative petition was recommended since “the evidence on record clearly suggests a prima-facie case of Sec. 304 II…as was sought in the (CBI) chargesheet dated 1.12.1987”. Another curative petition was also recommended to address the “inadequacy of the compensation” against the order dated 14.2.1989 which set the amount of compensation at Rs. 470 million.
The State government also decided to form a fact-finding team to probe the sequence of events that led to the safe passage and escape of Warren Anderson, then Chairman of Union Carbide, in the case and also to take action against the erring officials that facilitated the escape.
The committee also recommended the State government to file an appeal in the sessions court challenging the June 7th judgment of the trial court since the “amendment in the charge (by ordersheet dated 2.7.1999 whereby the charge was made for each count of death and grievous/simple hurt which culumatively ran into thousands)” has not been considered by the Trial Court while passing the judgment’ and “that the incident was the gravest and most tragic incident of the industrial history of world, and thus appropriately called for an exemplary fine.”
It also stated that the State government should request the CBI to file a supplementary charge-sheet before the Trial Court as far as the three absconding accused persons are concerned, for framing of charges under Sec. 304 II, “in view of the plethora of evidence in this regard now available on record.”
Addressing media persons late Thursday evening, state Parliamentary Affairs minister Narottam Mishra said that the government had decided to accept all the recommendations of the legal panel.
Survivor organizations however protested on the streets of Bhopal on Friday against the ruling BJP’s “hypocrisy”, leading to the arrest of Balkrishna Namdeo, one of the key activists in the victims’ struggle for justice.
They alleged that while the BJP was making so much noise over the Bhopal gas leak issue and blaming the centre for everything, the party had not done anything to address concerns related to rehabilitation of the victims.