India to ensure no repeat of Bhopal-like tragedy

18:48, June 23, 2010      

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India said on Wednesday that it would ensure that there is no repeat of a Bhopal-like tragedy, as the country unveiled a national litigation policy to prevent " delay or neglect" of important cases like the gas leak in 1984 which claimed the lives of over 20,000 people.

According to the National Litigation Policy, the government would categorize and group the court cases so that those fighting the cases on behalf of the government could prioritize them.

"If this is in place, ultimately constant review, prioritizing and categorization, we will track everything. Maybe cases like the Bhopal one will not be repeated in this country. That is the target of this (policy) Its aim is to transform government into an efficient and a responsible litigant," Indian Law Minister Veerapa Moily told the media in the national capital.

Stating that the 1996 judgment in the Bhopal gas leak case by the country's Supreme Court was "wrong", the minister said: "I am not criticizing the judgment... I am entitled to tell you that it is wrong. I say it as a matter of law. I believe there are contradictions in the judgment and there are lots of material that has come up post that judgment."

The country's apex court in 1996 reduced the charge against the accused in the Bhopal gas leak case from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to causing death by negligence.

A local court in Bhopal gave meagre sentences and bail to seven accused in the case early this month, sparking outrage across the country.

The Indian government has promised later to pay the victims of the tragedy, clean up the toxic mess left behind by the disaster, and seek extradition of the then Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson from the United States.

Source: Xinhua


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