New Delhi: In a development bound to hamper the cause of the victims of the Bhopal gas leak tragedy, the government of India has reportedly decided to not pursue environmental damages case against the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in any US court.
The Attorney General’s advise was given to a Group of Ministers headed by the Home Minister P Chidambaram, which was formed to look into various issues. The group had decided to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court against UCC and DOW Chemicals to enhance compensation for the victims.
Union Law Minister V Moily confirmed the decision when he said the decision was a considered one.
"We have taken a decision not to pursue the case as it
is not in the interest of victims and not in the interest of
India. We have taken a considered decision...Our courts are
competent and capable of resolving...(the matter)," Moily told a news channel.
Attorney General GE Vahanvati also said that pursuing the matter in a US court would have not be beneficial.
“The case may cause us damage vis-à-vis the case we file in an Indian court as the government will not be able to join the case in US as a claimant but a defendant,” Vahanvati said.
Some American lawyers had apprised the Centre about a
lawsuit in this regard and had asked it to become party in the
compensation case, the sources said.
The decision has evoked ire from the victims with activist Satinath Sarangi slamming the move.
The Supreme Court has already issued notice to the
respondents on the petition filed by CBI seeking to restore
the stringent charge of culpable homicide, which attracts the
maximum punishment of 10 years` jail term, against the accused
in the gas leak case.
The court will also examine the plea of the victims
who have sought enhancement of compensation.
15,000 persons died in the world`s worst industrial disaster in 1984.