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In a recent development, the Supreme Court dismissed the Centre’s curative petition seeking additional compensation from Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. The tragedy that claimed over 3,000 lives and left countless others severely injured, is considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in history.
A bench comprising of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran, dismissed the petition filed by the Centre, stating that the issue had already been settled by the court in its earlier judgements. The bench observed that the issue of compensation had been finally decided in the year 1989 when the court approved a settlement of $470 million between the Union of India and UCC. The Centre had
filed the curative petition in the wake of the 2022 verdict by a US Court that awarded $2.5 billion as compensation to the victims of the tragedy. The Centre had argued that the US Court’s judgement had led to the emergence of new facts and circumstances, and thus, the Indian government was entitled to additional compensation from UCC.
The bench rejected the Centre’s contention and observed that the US Court’s judgement was not binding on the Indian courts. The bench further noted that the Indian courts had already considered all the relevant issues and had arrived at a just and fair settlement in the year 1989. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy occurred on the night of 2-3 December 1984, when a toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, spread over the surrounding areas.
The tragedy resulted in the death of thousands of people and left many more with long-term health issues. The gas leak also caused severe damage to the environment and ecology of the area.
Over the years, the victims and their families have been fighting for justice and adequate compensation. The Indian government had initially filed a lawsuit against UCC in a US court, seeking $3.3 billion as compensation. However, in 1989, the Indian government agreed to a settlement of $470 million with UCC, which was widely criticised for being too low.
The Bhopal Gas Tragedy continues to be a painful reminder of the dangers of industrial negligence and the need for stringent safety regulations. The dismissal of the Centre’s curative petition by the Supreme Court puts an end to the long-drawn legal battle for additional compensation, and highlights the importance of timely and just settlement of such issues.

Written By- Lakshya Sharma students of 1st year BBA LLB at Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University


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