Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Pleas wanting Dow Chemical to be made accused posted for Jan 6

A Bhopal court on Saturday posted for January 6 the hearing on several petitions, including that of the CBI, seeking that Dow Chemical be tried for the 1984 gas tragedy, widely believed to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Dow Chemical, headquartered in Michigan in the United States of America, had bought Union Carbide, a leak from whose facility in Bhopal in the intervening night of December 2 and 3 that year killed several thousand people.

Judicial Magistrate First Class Vidhan Maheshwari on Saturday adjourned the hearing until January 6 after the American multinational corporation contended the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Bhopal court that served show cause notice to it on the plea of the petitioners.

The petitioners, however, have asserted the Madhya Pradesh High Court had decided the issue of jurisdiction in 2012, and, thus, Dow Chemical, should be made an accused in the case, Avi Singh, a lawyer representing organisations working for the gas tragedy victims, told PTI.

Lawyers led by Supreme Court senior advocate and former advocate general of Chhattisgarh Ravindra Shrivastava and Sandeep Gupta put forth the company’s side.

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A lawyer representing Dow Chemical told PTI the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Bhopal court given that the multinational firm was governed by international law.

“We also submitted before the court that the jurisdiction issue has not been settled by the High Court,” he added.

In their pleas, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Bhopal Group for Information and Action and other organisations argued that since Dow Chemical owns Union Carbide, it should be made an accused in the criminal case.

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