Published on: 21 September 2022 at 20:25 IST
The Solicitor General was asked by the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench on Tuesday to ask the Center for instructions regarding the court’s current stance on the curative petition it filed in 2010 asking US-based Union Carbide Corporation to provide additional compensation to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy (now owned by Dow Chemicals). The issue was therefore postponed by the Supreme Court to October 11, 2022.
According to the five-judge panel made up of Justices SK Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, AS Oka, Vikram Nath, and JK Maheshwari, since the curative petition was filed by the Center, the outcome of the current proceedings would depend on whether the Union Government decided to pursue the requests made in the curative petition or not.
The question of whether the compensation may be improved at all upon redetermination at this late date must be taken into consideration, Justice Kaul said.
He added – “We have to see there has to be quietus in the matter. We need the stand of the Government.”
A number of victims who had later filed an impleaded lawsuit were represented by advocate Karuna Nundy, who backed the expansion of the compensation and requested authorization to support their enhanced claim.
But the Bench was quite clear that it needed the Centre’s position on the issue in order to move further.
The curative appeal, which was filed in December 2010, asks the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling from February 14, 1989, which set the compensation at US$ 470 million (Rs 750 crore), as well as its following judgments from February 15 and May 4, which specify the method of payment and settlement.
The prior settlement, according to the Central Government, did not account for the following environmental damage and was based on inaccurate estimates of the number of fatalities, injuries, and losses. The payment was based on an earlier estimate of 3,000 fatalities and 70,000 injury cases; the curative petition now claims 5,295 fatalities and 527,894 injury cases.
According to Center, the original payment did not account for the following environmental deterioration since it was based on inaccurate estimates of the number of fatalities, injuries, and losses.
The compensation was based on an earlier estimate of 3,000 fatalities and 70,000 injury cases; the curative petition now lists 5,295 fatalities and 527,894 injury cases.