Tata FAQ #17: What is happening in the courts on the issue of contamination and clean up?

In the U.S. there is a civil court case in the Southern District federal court in New York. The civil case was filed in 1999 by survivors against Union Carbide, seeking a comprehensive cleanup of the contaminated site and the properties around the factory, and compensation and medical monitoring for those poisoned by Carbide’s chemical waste. This lawsuit has survived four motions to dismiss, and has been reinstated by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals twice. In 2004, in a letter to the federal court in New York where a suit by contamination affected residents of Bhopal is ongoing, the Government of India stated that the offending corporation “should bear all of the financial burden and cost for the purpose of environmental clean up and remediation”.
On August 3, 2004, the division bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court admitted a Public Interest Litigation by Alok Pratap Singh, filed against UCIL with regard to the contamination at the site. The High Court later served notices upon the Government of India, the Madhya Pradesh government, Union Carbide, EIIL and The Dow Chemical Company in the matter.
In 2005 the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers made a claim before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh against Dow Chemical for payment of Rs. 100 Crores [23 million USD] as advance for the clean up of contamination in Bhopal. A March 30, 2005 interim order directed the Government of India to constitute a five member expert committee to prepare a scheme and action plan for removal of the toxic wastes at the plant. The subsequent ‘Task Force’ was comprised of Central and M.P. State Government departments and Indian scientific agencies. The Technical Sub-committee in the Task Force set up by the MP High Court has unanimously concluded that the first option to deal with the hazardous waste is to ask Dow Chemical to ship it to USA for final disposal.

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