New Delhi: The Supreme Court might have dismissed the curative petition of the CBI in the Bhopal gas tragedy, but the Apex Court decision has in fact opened new gateways to book the accused under stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Though the Apex Court’s five-member bench on Wednesday refused to change its 1996 decision, it made it clear that its decision would have no bearing on the petitions filed by the CBI and the Madhya Pradesh government in the sessions court seeking increase in quantum of punishment for the convict.

Both CBI and the MP government had appealed against the verdict that granted two-year imprisonment to the accused. The petition sought an increase in the quantum of punishment and to put them on trial under charges of Culpable Homicide not Amounting to Murder.

Besides this, the CBI had also filed a curative petition in Supreme Court to dismiss the 1996 verdict which asked for lightening the charges against the accused.

The five-member bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia while dismissing the petition said that it would be wrong to understand that the 1996 Supreme Court decision prevents the competent courts to utilise their powers as the decision was pronounced on the basis of facts and evidences available then.

If according to the CBI's plea, the magistrate could not interpret the law correctly and finding itself bound by the SC order it did not utilize the vested powers on him, certainly the mistakes can be fixed at the appellate and review stage, the bench observed.

(JPN/Bureau)