It is a stark example of how casually certain industries treat environmental guidelines. Even today, residents of Bhopal suffer from genetic defects such as damaged reproductive systems, lung problems, and vision impairments due to the gas leak that occurred nearly three decades ago. The Supreme Court reiterated that the compensation was adequate and that it actually exceeded personal injury claims that time. The American enterprise, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) owned a majority stake in UCIL. At the inception stage, UCC’s Argentine agronomic engineer expressed concerns over the plant’s safety but his superiors disregarded them, saying that the plant would be ‘as inoffensive as a chocolate factory’. The recent gas leak in the LG Polymers, Vizag compels us to raise an important question, have we learned our lesson from one of the worst industrial accidents- The Bhopal tragedy? The former also took place at a time when environmental law was more equipped to handle mass disasters. UCC appealed to the Supreme Court of Indian law, a judgment debtor is supposed to deposit the contested amount before moving an appellate court, UCC did not do so. The settlement sanctioned by the Supreme Court was widely condemned. Parens Patriae and the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act, 1985. What updates do you want to see in this article? The lockdown, however, forced all industries, except those making essentials, to shut down. The article discusses the detailed study of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Case. The Bhopal Act gave the Central Government the exclusive rights to represent and act in place of the persons entitled to make claims in relation to the Bhopal gas leak. This article is written by Anam Khan from Hidayatullah National Law University. Later during the same day, a boiler burst at Neyveli Lignite Corporation injured 8 people in Tamil Nadu. Criminal Proceedings Against UCC and UCIL Officers, Weekly Competition – Week 4 – September 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 2 – October 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 3 – October 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 4 – October 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 1 – November 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 2 – November 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 3 – November 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 4 – November 2019, Weekly Competition – Week 1 – December 2019, Budget 2020 and Coronavirus – A tale of Myopia and Dystopia, Why We Obey Law? On the night of 2 December, 1984 water is said to have seeped into a tank containing over forty tonnes of the highly poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC), a gas that was used in the production of Sevin and Temik. Vizag Gas Leak. India’s legal system was ill-equipped to handle the complex litigation that the case would entail. Within two years and four days of the incident, federal investigators in the United States of America made their first arrest in the matter. Even though it was tenuous, parens patriae could have been an effective mechanism to obtain a speedy remedy only if the government had pursued it with conviction and while bearing in mind the interest of the victims. The Bhopal gas leak was cited by many as the paradigm of how influential multinationals exploit developing countries; developing countries import hazardous technology in spite of a conspicuous absence of an environmental law framework and legal infrastructure to handle its potentially disastrous consequences. Many who were still in the womb endured its catastrophic consequences. With the approval from the Government of India UCIL manufactured the pesticides Sevin and Temik in its Bhopal plant. UCC would have to abide by any judgment rendered by an Indian court as long as it complied with ‘minimal’ due process requirements. Meanwhile, in Chhattisgarh, 7 people fell ill after they accidentally inhaled a toxic gas that leaked from a paper mill factory in the Raigarh district. Exercising its power under the Bhopal Act, on 8th April 1985, the Central Government filed a complaint against UCC before the Southern District Court in New York, United States of America. Bhopal was undoubtedly the darkest reflection of globalization against its benefits, particularly when modern technology was imported into an archaic legal set-up, as was the case with India. Responding to an appeal, the Supreme Court diluted the charge to ‘causing death by negligence’ under Section 304A of the IPC on the ground that the evidence was not sufficient to charge the accused with culpable homicide. The ghosts of December 1984 haunted several generations of Bhopal’s inhabitants. It authorized the Central Government to represent the interests of those affected by the gas leak as ‘parens patriae’- this tool, which originated in the United Kingdom and evolved in the United States of America allows the state to protect the well-being of its citizens in a representative capacity. A gas leak from the LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam, which was operating without environmental clearance for over two decades, killed 12 people and sickened hundreds on May 7. It wasted the opportunity of revising the 470-million-dollar compensation to a more realistic figure. Life Insurance Corporation of India/Unit Trust of India owned 22 percent and the Indian public-owned 27 percent. India and its people can and must vindicate their claims before the independent and legitimate judiciary created there since the Independence of 1947. Home / Articles / VIZAG GAS LEAK- A CASE STUDY ON THE UNCONTROLLED STYRENE VAPOUR RELEASE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN INDIA. After an appropriate demand by the Union of India, UCC was to be subject to discovery under the model of the United State’s Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This necessitated a rehearing which caused further delay. The proposed framework of nuclear liability law has created a dangerous cocktail for another Bhopal. It clearly failed to appreciate the extent of the damage caused by the Bhopal gas tragedy and its crippling long term effect. At the same time, one cannot help but notice the differential treatment of the two incidents. The arguments projected a strange situation- the Union of India argued that Indian courts could not handle the matter efficiently while a United States corporation asserted that they could. So, despite the government’s steps in the aftermath of Bhopal, there is still room for a substantial number of measures to be undertaken. The recent gas leak in the LG Polymers, Vizag compels us to raise an important question, have we learned our lesson from one of the worst industrial accidents- The Bhopal tragedy? In 1970, UCIL erected a pesticide plant in a densely populated area of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. So, in September 1986, the Union of India instituted proceedings against UCC in a district court in Bhopal, which ordered UCC to deposit an interim compensation of 350 crore rupees. The endemic delays in India’s legal system and the substantial backlog of cases would impede the effective disposal of the case. After the Bhopal gas tragedy, India enacted the Environment Protection Act, 1986 a statue that seeks to address pressing concerns involving sustainable development. The dismissal of the Union of India’s case was subject to three conditions: Judge Keenan’s decision was ironic- the great opportunity that he believed India’s legal system faced was squandered by the bar and the bench. After the criminal proceedings against the directors and officers of UCC and UCIL recommenced, many criminal cases did the rounds in courts across India. Introduction On 7th May 2020, an incident of uncontrolled Styrene vapour Release occurred at LG … The Bhopal Act is known to have evoked sharp criticism, as the wrongdoer (UCIL) was partly owned by State corporations and the government could have been held partially liable for the tragedy. Initially, charges framed against the accused under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder- an offence punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of ten years. from Hidayatullah National Law University. may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk,” the NDMA said in a letter to the states. The recent gas leak in the LG Polymers, Vizag compels us to raise an important question, have we learned our lesson from one of the worst industrial accidents- The Bhopal tragedy? | Powered by. The compensation amount was a mean between UCC’s offer of 426 million dollars and the Union of India’s demand for 500 million dollars. In terms of the settlement, all civil proceedings were concluded and criminal proceedings quashed in relation to the Bhopal gas leak. © Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved. You can click on this link and join: One of the unfortunate effects of the settlement was that the court did not adjudicate on critical issues raised by the Bhopal incident, though it stated its observations on the need to protect national interests from being exploited by a foreign corporation and develop criteria to deal with potentially hazardous technology. In its eagerness to catch up with its richer neighbour, India should not repeat its mistakes. On 4 and 6 December 1985, Oleum gas leaked from one of its units during the pending lawsuit, causing substantial harm to local residents as a result of the plant’s gas leakage. As per the UN Framework, governments must clearly spell out their policies to protect human rights and communicate these to business organizations.