May 11, 2011
“Today will go down as another black day for justice,” Bhopal survivors’ organisations said in reaction to the Supreme Court's order rejecting the curative petition filed by the CBI. “Further to the dismissal of the revision petition filed by three Bhopal organisations against Justice Ahmadi's controversial 1996 order, the Supreme Court today has heaped yet more injustice on the Bhopal victims,” five organisations said.
In 1997, the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by three survivor organisations without conducting even one hearing. The petition was against Justices Ahmadi’s order that quashed the charge of culpable homicide against the Indian officials of Union Carbide and instituted a charge of death caused by negligence.
Today's Supreme Court order is problematic on many counts. First, by saying that the 1996 Supreme Court order was not binding on the trial court, it expects a lower court to act against a specific order of the Supreme Court. This presumption is entirely contrary to the universal practice of the courts. FIRs quashed by the Supreme Court are never reborn by magisterial acts. More importantly, the Supreme Court has ignored the gross miscarriage of justice suffered by the victims through the practical effect of the 1996 judgment.