Prof Upendra Baxi
April 23, 2008
The Bhopal -violated and long- suffering humanity justly continue to claim their human rights, to voice their saga of suffering, contending the cruel and predatory ways of Indian governance. They do a great service in reminding us that Indian governance cannot continue as if internationally and constitutionally proclaimed human rights never existed!
Not merely was Union Carbide Corporation unconscionably let off the hook by a constitutionally unjustified Supreme Court of India settlement order which shrivelled to nothingness (the GOL estimate of US$3.3 billion to a paltry US$ 470 award); very little has been done to actually ameliorate the extraordinary suffering of the Bhopal –violated Indian citizens.
As if this implosion of chemical-Holocaust suffering were not enough, what now occurs are some terminal forms of profoundly neo-liberal, unconstitutional governance.
Now even a self-proclaimed progressive UPA government proceeds to fashion ways in which Dow Chemical may owe no legal, constitutional, or corporate social responsibility to the Bhopal -violated humanity, even when it may best continue to maximise its profit and power. What this means is the ultimate constitutional and human rights obscenity, a form which now favours human rights impunity for successor global corporations, which may not even owe a tattle of social responsibility for the perpetuation of inhuman wrongs.
It is never too late for the Government of India to follow the path of constitutional justice for the Bhopal -violated. Rather then telling them that they have no rights, the time has surely come to tell global corporations that they owe greater human rights responsibilities than ever before.
I support the Bill and the plan of action.
Dr .Upendra Baxi
Professor of Law
University of Warwick