Supreme Court reserves verdict on Centre’s plea for enhanced relief : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the Centre’s curative petition seeking an additional Rs 7,844 crore from the successor firms of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) for enhanced compensation to the victims of the 1984 tragedy which claimed more than 3,000 lives and damaged environment.

The UCC told a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the depreciation of the rupee since 1989, when a settlement was reached between the company and the Centre, couldn’t be a ground to seek a “top-up” amount.

Now owned by Dow Chemicals, the UCC gave a compensation of Rs USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore at the time of settlement in 1989) after the toxic methyl isocyanate gas leak from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2 and 3 in 1984 killed over 3,000 persons and affected 1.02 lakh.

However, in its curative petition filed in 2010, the Centre sought another Rs 7,844 crore from the UCC’s successor company over and above the USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) it got as part of the settlement in 1989. The settlement of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) took place because of an order passed by a district judge in 1987, senior counsel Harish Salve submitted on behalf of the respondents.

The government never suggested at the time of the settlement that the compensation amount was inadequate, he pointed out. “Go back to 1989 and just compare…but that (depreciation) cannot be a ground for top-up. That is the long and short of their submission,” Salve said.

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