Bhopal survivor organizations Friday welcomed Madhya Pradesh High Court decision to lift the stay against summoning of The Dow Chemical Company USA (TDCC) in the criminal case on Dec 1984 gas disaster.
They said it is a big step towards making Union Carbide face trial in India, which has been absconding for last last twenty years.
The Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) said that it was a victory of their legal action in this matter after 8 years.
On Feb 26, 2004 BGIA had filed an appeal in the Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Bhopal asking that TDCC be summoned to show cause why it won't produce its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC)-USA before the Bhopal court in the ongoing criminal case.
UCC-USA has been absconding since Feb 1992. On Jan 6, 2005 CJM, Bhopal ordered that summons be issued to TDCC, USA.
Dow Chemical International Private Limited (DCIPL) filed an appeal in the MP High Court and in response to this appeal, Justice Rakesh Saxena granted a stay on issuing of summons against TDCC, USA on Mar 17, 2005.
This was an illegal order as appeal filed by DCIPL, which was neither aggrieved nor affected by the Bhopal CJM order of Jan 6 2005.
BGIA said that in the last 7.5 years the matter has come before more than 10 judges including who finally passed the order.
BGIA added. "In the last 20 years the prosecution in the criminal case on the Bhopal disaster, the CBI has not made the tiniest attempt to produce absconding UCC-USA in court."
"The fact that the order is against TDCC which owns and does business in India and that has presented itself in the Indian courts through its counsels should make criminal prosecution of UCC easier."
Bhopal survivor organization asserted "We thank our lawyers Avninder Singh and Harmeet Singh Ruprah for their relentless effort in successfully pursuing this case."
On the intervening night of Dec 2/3, 1984, the inhabitants of the city of Bhopal became victims of the world´s worst industrial disaster. 40 tonnes of methyl iscocyanate (MIC - a highly volatile toxic chemical) stored at the pesticide plant - owned by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA - was contaminated with water and other impurities.
As a result, a mixture of deadly gases escaped from the factory killing several thousands of people and inflicting grievous injuries on at least 500,000 others.