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SC issues notices to 7 Bhopal convicts
Published on 1 Sep. 2010 12:49 AM IST
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The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notices to the seven convicts in the Bhopal gas tragedy case on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea that seeks recall of the court’s 1996 judgment which diluted offences against them.
The judgment diluted the charge against the convicts, including former chief of Union Carbide India’s operations Keshub Mahindra, from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to causing death by negligence. The serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder carries a maximum imprisonment of up to 10 years. The charge under which the accused were convicted by a Bhopal court in June this year carries a maximum sentence of two years.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice R.V. Raveendran passed the order after considering the curative petition. The court said that “these petitions be listed after service (of notices) is complete”.
The CBI moved the apex court Aug 2. The CBI has sought the restoration of charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the convicts. All the seven convicts were convicted by the trial court in Bhopal June 7 and were subsequently awarded jail sentence of two years each. They were let off on bail soon after.
The apex court judgment of 1996 was delivered by a bench headed by the then Chief Justice A.M. Ahmadi. The CBI curative petition has contended that the failure of justice affected not only the victims but also society and the nation as a whole.
The petition said the toxic gas leak from Union Carbide’s plant struck Bhopal on the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984 leaving 5,295 dead and 568,292 injured.
The CBI petition said that it was the responsibility of the state to ensure that justice was done to thousands of people who lost their lives in one of the worst industrial disasters.

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