New Delhi: In an apparent setback to the campaign for those seeking stringent punishment for the accused in the Bhopal gas disaster, the Supreme Court today dismissed CBI's curative petition against an earlier apex court judgment that diluted charges against the accused.
A five-judge constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, however, left a window of opportunity open, saying the pending proceedings before the Sessions court against the chief judicial magistrate's judgment awarding a 2-year sentence to the accused, including Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra, will not be influenced by any order passed by it.
The bench said that the CBI and the MP government have failed to come out with a satisfactory explanation on filing the curative petition after a lapse of 14 years. The unanimous order was passed by the bench that included justices Altamas Kabir, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam.
The CBI and the Madhya Pradesh government filed the curative petitions after a public outcry over what was considered as a mild punishment for a tragedy that claimed over 15,000 lives in December 1984 and had left several thousands maimed by the leakage of deadly Methyl Isocyanate gas.
In 1996, a two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by the then Chief Justice A H Ahmadi had diluted the charges against the accused from Section 304 Part II of the IPC providing for a maximum of ten years imprisonment to Section 304(A) that deals with rash and negligence act with a maximum punishment of two years.
The CBI and the MP government have filed revision petitions in the Sessions court against the judgement of the CJM, Bhopal, which had awarded two years jail term to various accused in the Bhopal gas tragedy case.
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Updated Date: May 11, 2011 12:57:10 IST