The Union government had sought for the Bhopal gas tragedy case to be reopened and for Union Carbide's successor firms to be directed to pay an additional ₹ 7,844 crore to victims of the gas leak. It had argued that the enormity of the actual damage to human lives and the environment could not be assessed properly at the time of the settlement in 1989.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the Centre’s 2010 curative petition that sought additional compensation of more than Rs 7,000 crore from the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) for victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, which had left nearly 3,000 people dead and lakhs affected.
The court also censured the Centre over its failure to make an insurance policy, and called it “gross negligence on part of the Union of India”.
A Constitution bench, comprising Justices S K Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, A S Oka, Vikram Nath, and J K Maheshwari, pointed out that in proceedings which culminated in the apex court’s July 19, 2004, ruling on review petitions in the case, it was “admitted that the amount of settlement was found to be in surplus of the actual requirement and thus the claimants had been ‘provided compensation that was more than what was reasonably awarded to them under the law’”.
Thousands of survivors of the tragedy have said they, their children, and grandchildren are still struggling with chronic health problems as a result of the leak and toxic waste left behind.