Union Carbide compensation yet to be disbursed
Times of India, 3rd March 2001


NEW DELHI: Pointing out enormous delay in compensating gas tragedy victims, a PIL on Friday told the Supreme Court that the Centre had not yet been able to distribute Rs 1100 crore of the money given by Union Carbide to the victims even 17 years after the tragedy.

Counsel for petitioner of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyam, S Muralidhar, submitted before a three-judge Bench headed by Justice B N Kirpal that the government thinks it was doing some charity though the money was given by the US company.

He said now that government had come out with a notification giving only 30 days time for restoration of those claim applications which were dismissed on default.

He alleged that this was a ploy to deprive poor people who suffered for 17 years without having knowledge of the technicalities in the courts.

However, additional solicitor general Mukul Rohtagi contended that the process had to come to an end some day and it could not go on for ever.

After hearing both the counsel, the Bench comprising Justice Kirpal, Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Justice Ruma Pal directed the government to publish a list in the newspaper of all those applications dismissed in default and give them 60 days time to seek their restoration.

Giving details of the claims, Rohatagi said though the total population of Bhopal at the time of the tragedy was around eight lakhs, over 10 lakh claims were filed indicating a huge number of bogus claims.