The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the Centre’s curative petition seeking Rs 7,844 crore from the successor companies of Union Carbide, to provide compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. The court said it will hear the petition in April, Live Law reported.
The gas leak in the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal on the night of December 2 and 3, 1984, killed over 3,500 people, according to state government figures. Union Carbide, which is now owned by Dow Chemicals, and other firms have so far paid $470 million (Rs 3,344 crore) as compensation to the Indian government.
The erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government had filed a petition in 2010 seeking compensation from Union Carbide’s successor firms. It had put the toll at 3,000 and the number of injuries at 70,000. However, the National Democratic Alliance government’s curative petition puts the number of deaths at 5,295, and the number of wounded at 5,27,894. The Centre said in its plea that the earlier estimates did not account for the deaths and losses caused due to environmental degradation following the disaster.
In November last year, the Centre filed a plea to list the curative petition for early hearing. The plea said the matter is “extremely important involving public interest”. “Any further delay in hearing the matter will not be in public interest and will cause irreparable loss and damage,” it added.
On Monday, Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan orally mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, agreed to hear the curative petition in April.