SC reopens Bhopal case, issues notices to 7 accused
New Delhi: Acting on a petition filed by CBI seeking to restore the stringent charge of culpable homicide against the accused in Bhopal gas leak case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to all the seven accused Indian Union Carbide officials in the case.
While issuing the notice, the three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Altamas Kabir and R V Raveendra asked the convicted as to why a trial be not conducted against them under Section 304 part-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC - which attracts the maximum punishment of 10 years jail term.
The CBI, while filing the curative petition, had opined that there was a "gross miscarriage" of justice in the case.
The agency had sought reconsideration of the September 13, 1996, apex court judgement which had whittled down the charge to causing death due to rash and negligent act against former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others.
Besides Mahindra, Vijay Gokhale, the then Managing Director of UCIL, Kishore Kamdar, the then Vice President, J N Mukund, the then Works Manager, S P Choudhary, the then Production Manager, K V Shetty, the then Plant Superintendent and S I Quereshi, the then Production Assistant were convicted and sentenced to two years jail term by a trial court in Bhopal on June 7.
The trial court verdict had sparked an outrage with civil society activists and political parties seeking an appeal against it, maintaining the accused had been tried under a less stringent provision of law for the tragedy that left over 15,000 people dead and thousands maimed.