In the history of Indian Disasters, one black day was observed in the year 1984, when the methyl- gas-leakage occurred out of the Union Carbide Company and caused over 15000 deaths at a time and another verisimilitude of black day has just been observed in the history of Indian Governance, Law and Judiciary, when the judgment of the same came out prescribing punishment to the directors of the company of 2 years’ Imprisonment each + nominal compensation, along with the hue and cry of the victims over the decision, as it was quite less or almost nothing keeping in view to the harm done.
Let us draw a critical analysis of the Judgment wherein certain aspects of the same need to be focused upon.
First of all, the decision attracts severe criticism on one basis that is the ignorance of present circumstances and later effects of the accident. It is a principle of tort law that while considering the harm done, all the injuries occurred which are direct result of the harm/act done or if there is a reasonable nexus between the act done and the injury suffered, then the actual time of occurring the injury is immaterial. This is to point out here that no note has been taken of the harm which has furthered with the passage of time, or which has become even more intense and worse after a period of 25 years, and that is certainly a direct impact of the harm/injury suffered instantly after the incident. Cases have been reported as in due to the gas-leakage, the persons suffered eye-injuries resulting in short-sightedness, but the injury furthered during these years and ended up with the total loss of the eye; total blindness. Therefore, such a later effect has not been considered.
Furthermore, the compensation has been provided, but on the basis of injuries suffered instantly after the accident. But, this is what was not considered by the court while pronouncing decision and awarding compensation. Hence, the damages so provided are not proportionate to the injury suffered and harm occurred which is definitely a direct result of the act.
Also, it has been continuously alleged that CBI did not present all the evidences and facts before the concerned court during the proceedings. It has been defended that those were the documents not produced due to general public interest and national security, however, in my view; no rational and fair conclusion can be reached if there are no proper facts and evidences produced. A justice is not something which can be done considering a few relevant facts or a few “available” facts/evidences, but, something which must not be made unless all the evidences so collected have been produced. The very basic rules of natural justice consist of evidential proceedings and concealment of the same results in the violation of natural justice. This is even worse, that the evidences had been collected and reserved, but just not produced.
Moreover, jurists and legal professionals are of the view that the liberal approach towards Union Carbide Company adopted by the court while delivering the judgment has a relevance to nation’s economic policies as well. In order to get multinationals in the country and trade domestically and internationally, for the furtherance of economic objective sought to be achieved by the Indian Govt., punishments have been prescribed as less-severe as can be. This is to motivate the companies enter Indian market and continue trade in India. Ironically, to secure one of the objectives, another has been brutally violated.
Unfortunately, it seems that the accident, the disaster that took place 25 years ago, the uncountable deaths which occurred that time, all have lost their gravity, they have lost their warmness and thus it cannot be felt by those sitting above us known as THE LORDS.( Hon’ble Judges!!)
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