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09 Jun 2010

PUDR believes that the latest judgment on the Bhopal gas leak of 1984 is a complete farce and absolutely criminal in the gap between the enormity of the crime and the punishment meted out to the offenders, a direct reflection of the gap between the social location of the victims and the accused.

But more than the lower judiciary which delivered the verdict, it is the Supreme Court which is at fault. It’s the Supreme Court that settled for paltry compensation, and also reduced the charges from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to death due to criminal negligence under which the sentencing was done. Besides the judiciary the role of the government has been equally at fault- the CBI was allegedly instructed not to go after Warren Anderson, the compensation is being awarded arbitrarily, arduous mechanisms were set up for its disbursement which were inherently given to corruption. And in all these years the government ignored the victims.

Why did it not step in and award compensation and provide for the healthcare and well being of those affected? As it is the state which grants corporations the rights to set up projects in India, if it fails to enforce its laws and make them accountable, it becomes the moral responsibility of the state to bear the brunt as in this case. Which it hasn’t done. The Union Carbide case raises serious questions about multinational projects, the government’s credibility when it says that it will ensure that justice is done to the people who are displaced or otherwise effected and ensure the safety and constitutional rights of its people . It exposes the nexus between the Indian state and multinationals where the rights and lives of common people come cheap.

PUDR demands:

1. The Govt. of India file a case under culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

2. It pursue all possible alternatives for the extradition and conviction of Warren Anderson.

3. That the compensation be enhanced, and equitably, speedily and justly disbursed.

4. An investigation be conducted into the role of various state organizations and the guilty punished

Asish Gupta and Moushumi Basu