19 judges presided over the marathon Bhopal gas tragedy trial

The trial in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy saw 19 judges presiding over it after the charge sheet was filed in December 1987.

Updated: Jun 07, 2010, 18:45 PM IST

Bhopal: The trial in the 1984 Bhopal gas
tragedy saw 19 judges presiding over it after the charge sheet
was filed in December 1987.

The CBI filed the charge sheet in the Chief Judicial
Magistrate A Sisodia`s court on December 1, 1987 here. CJM R C
Mishra heard the case of the world`s worst industrial disaster
from September 30, 1988.

After him, Lal Singh Bhati heard the case from July
26, 1989 to November 27, 1991 followed by CJM Gulab Sharma,
who referred it to session court on June 22, 1992.

Thereafter it was heard by Session Judge S P Khare
from July 13, 1992. The case came before two more judges in
July 17, 1992 and November 29, 1995.

Session Judge R G Phapdke heard the case from
September 24, 1996 and the matter was sent back to CJM`s
courts following the Supreme Court amendments diluting the
charges in 1996.

Seven more judges heard the case before it came to
Judicial Magistrate Mohan P Tiwari on February 21, 2009 who
pronounced the eight accused guilty today.

The First Information Report (FIR) on the Bhopal Gas
Disaster was filed on December 3, 1984 and the case was
transferred to CBI on December 6, 1984. The CBI filed the
chargesheet after investigation on December 1, 1987.

Subsequently, the CJM framed charges against the
accused under section 304 Part (II) (culpable homicide not
amounting to murder), section 326 (voluntarily causing
grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and other
relevant sections of IPC.

After the accused moved the apex court, it amended the
charges on September 13, 1996 to 304 (A) (causing death by
negligence), 336 (acts endangering life or personal safety of
others, 337 (causing hurt by endangering life or personal
safety of others) and other sections of IPC.

The first prosecution witness deposed in the CJM court
on September 29, 1997 and the last on August 3, 2005. 178
prosecution witnesses recorded their statement and the
prosecution placed 3,009 documents.

The first defence witness deposed on June 27, 2009 and
the last one of the eight recorded his statement on February

Out of the nine accused, B Roy Choudhary, the then
former Assistant Works Manager UCIL, Mumbai died during the

The eight other accused tried in the case were Keshub
Mahendra, the then Chairman, Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL),
Vijay Gokhle, the then Managing Director, UCIL, Kishore
Kamdar, the then Vice President, UCIL, J Mukund, the then
works manager UCIL, S P Choudhary, the then Production
Manager, UCIL, K V Shetty, the then Plant Superintendent of
UCIL and S I Quershi, the then Production In-charge UCIL and
UCIL Calcutta.