New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices and sought responses from Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Chemicals and others in connection with the plea seeking enhancement of compensation from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700 crore for the victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
 
The apex court also sought replies of Mcleod Russel India, which holds 50.9 per cent share in UCIL, currently known as Eveready Industries Ltd, on a curative petition filed by the Centre against the 1989 judgment and the 1991 judgment.

"We propose to sit on day-to-day basis from April 13 to hear the criminal matter," the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said.

The bench also issued notices to the companies on the Centre's plea seeking transfer of the writ petition before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which is hearing the issues relating to the  environmental damage caused due to the leakage of the poisonous gas.

The apex court's 1996 ruling eventually had resulted in a Bhopal trial court imposing a lighter punishment of two years imprisonment on several accused including former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra in May 2010.

Besides Mahindra, Vijay Gokhale, the then Managing Director of UCIL, Kishore Kamdar, then Vice President, J N Mukund, then Works Manager, S P Choudhary, then Production Manager, K V Shetty, then Plant Superintendent and S I Quereshi, then Production Assistant were convicted and sentenced to two years' jail term by a trial court in Bhopal on June 7 this year.

Government had on December 3, the anniversary of the tragedy, had moved the apex court also seeking enhancement of compensation from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700 crore for the victims.

The filing of curative petition on the compensation issue on December 3 had coincided with the 26th anniversary of tragedy in which the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has sought re-examination of the apex court's February 14, 1989 judgment by which the compensation was fixed at 470 million dollars (Rs 750 crore) and subsequent orders of February 15 and May 4 determining the mode of payment and settlement.

 

(Agency)