It’s not good to reopen a settlement case after 30 years, Supreme Court five-judge bench said “there is ‘maryada’ in the jurisdiction”

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On Tuesday, the five-judge Constitution bench pulled up the curative plea of the Centre seeking additional compensation of Rs. 7,844 Crores from UCC (Union carbide Corporation) for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy. The Supreme Court stated that the Court is bound by ‘maryada’ of jurisdiction and Government has no right to reopen the settlement after 30 years. The Constitution bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Abhay S Oka, JK Maheshwari, Sanjeev Khanna, and Vikram Nath heard this plea.

In 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, over 500,000 people were exposed to MIC (Methyl Isocyanate) gas resulting in numerous deaths. This incident was addressed as the world’s worst industrial disaster. UCC paid compensation of $470 million after its settlement with the Centre in 1989 to help the families of people affected by this tragic incident.

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While addressing the case, the Supreme Court of India showed clear disinclination regarding the reopening of the issue, and the same was told to Attorney General Venkataramani. The bench said that “The court is not going to step into something which is not permissible and open the pandora box. There was a settlement which was arrived at between the parties and the court has approved it. Now in curative jurisdiction, we cannot reopen that settlement. Our decision in one case will have wide ramification. You need to understand to what extent curative jurisdiction can be invoked.” 

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