Update: Bhopal Gas Tragedy Verdict
The justice got buried on June 7, 2010. A city court in Bhopal held seven officials of Union Carbide plant and the company itself guilty of criminal negligence for the 1984 gas disaster and the guilty were bailed out within minutes. The 7 people viz. Keshub Mahindra, who then headed the Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), Vijay Gokhale, J. Mukund, S.P. Chaudhary, K.V. Shetty, Kishor Kamdar and S.I. Quireshee were sentenced to two years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs.100, 000. They were convicted under section 304 (a) of the Indian Penal Code. One accused, R.B Chaudhary died during the trial. The company UCIL was fined Rs.500,000. All the seven were released on a personal bond of Rs.25,000.
The verdict was denounced by not only the activists and environmental experts but also legal experts.
Warren Anderson who is now 89, is in the United states and has been described as "absconding". The verdict delivered does not contain a single word about him.
The Bhopal gas tragedy is counted among the world's worst industrial and chemical disasters. on December 3, 1984, more than 40 Tones of poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked and 4000 people were killed immediately. FIR report was filed at Hanumanganj Police Station of Bhopal on December 3, 1984. On Dec 1, 1987, the CBI had filed a charge sheet against UCC Chairman Warren Anderson and 11 others including UCC, UC (Eastern) Hong Kong and UCIL. Indian government summoned Anderson, eight other executives and two company affiliates with homicide charges to appear in Indian court. Union Carbide balked, saying the company is not under Indian jurisdiction On Feb 9, 1989, Chief Judicial Magistrate had issued a non-bailable warrant against prime accused Anderson for repeatedly ignoring summons. In February 1989, while the matter relating to payment of interim compensation was being heard by the Supreme Court, the Government of India and UCC reach a settlement stipulating that the UCC will pay 470 million dollars as compensation and the GoI will withdraw criminal cases against the accused. In Oct 1991 the Supreme Court revoked criminal immunity granted to UCC and all other accused in response to review and writ petitions.
This is how the tragedy was made a "Joke" in the name of justice in our country. Anderson lives in a $ 9, 00,000 houses in USA.
Why the guilty people have not been considered under section 302 of IPC?
Here is what says the new head of India's National Human Rights Commission, former chief Justice K G Balakrishanan
"What mattered in the case was the intention of the person involved in ''killing''. ''There is a difference between culpable homicide and murder. It depends on the intention of the criminal but not on the number of people dead,''
What is the difference between section 304 (a) and 302 of Indian penal Code?
The section 304 (a) of the Indian Penal Code pertains to death caused by carelessness and acts of negligence and carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment and fine.
Section 302 is for punishment for murder wherein whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.