The Supreme Court today rejected the curative petition brought in by the Central Government in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Case. The Government was seeking additional compensation to be paid by the American Company (UCC) to the victims of the Bhopal gas Tragedy, 1984.
The Constitutional bench while rejecting the plea mentioned that reopening it would only bring in more complications. The bench was composed of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, Abhay S Oka, Vikram Nath, and JK Maheshwari. The court further said that imposing greater liability on Union Carbide Corporation is not validated and it would be detrimental to claimants.
“….We are disappointed in the union for not having addressed this. If it is reopened, then it will only work in favour of UCC by opening a pandora’s box ….”
In a nutshell, the bench had said that it could not turn the case into a suit to determine the compensation afresh and emphasized again the limitations of its jurisdiction under curative petitions.
Course of Judgment:
On July 19, 2004: SC ordered the Central Bank to pay out more than 15 billion rupees, part of the original USD 470 million received as compensation kept in the account since 1992. Later on Jan 12, 2023: SC reserves verdict on Centre’s curative petition seeking enhancement of compensation to victims. Now, today SC dismisses Centre’s curative petition seeking enhancement of compensation to victims.
What is Curative Petition?
It deals with the question of whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement of the Supreme Court, even after the dismissal of a review petition. The idea was developed by the Supreme Court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and another case (2002). It must be used rather rarely. It can be entertained if the petitioner establishes that there was a violation of the principles of natural justice, and that he was not heard by the court before passing an order.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy
The Bhopal disaster or Bhopal gas tragedy was a chemical accident on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. Considered the world’s worst industrial disaster, over 500,000 people in the small towns around the plant were exposed to the highly toxic gas methyl isocyanate (MIC).