Supreme Court dismisses curative review petition of Bhopal gas tragedy

Today a Constitution-bench of the SC of India, in an order (CBI v. Keshub Mahindra) dismissed the Curative Petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation to enhance the charges of the accused in the Bhopal criminal cases and also the demand to increase the compensation from to $1.7 billion from the previously awarded damages of $470 million (though the Court did not expressly go into the issue of compensation).

Re-narrating the incidents that led to the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984 and the legal proceedings that ensued, the Court was of the opinion that no strong case or evidence was made out to enhance the charges of the accused to make them subject to harsher punishment under s. 304A of the Indian Penal Code. Noting that none of the constitutional remedies for review, under Article 137, were utilized by the affected parties, the Court restricted itself to the technical issues of the criminal review petition.

The Court also categorically stated that:

No decision by any court, this Court not excluded, can be read in a manner as to nullify the express provisions of an Act or the Code.

Observing that no clear grounds or explanation was provided to file the curative petitions 14 years after the previous 1996 ruling, the Court rejected the Curative Petition. See the Hindu and NY Times articles of the same.

It seems as though the Bhopal victims have nowhere else to look to, now that even the judiciary has rejected their appeals and while social activists were left distraught.

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