The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notices to all the seven convicts in the Bhopal gas tragedy on a petition of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that seeks review of the court’s 1996 judgment which diluted offences against them.
The judgment diluted the charge against the accused, including former chief of Union Carbide India’s operations Keshub Mahindra, from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to causing death by negligence.
The serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder carries a maximum imprisonment of up to 10 years.
The charge under which the accused were convicted by a Bhopal court in June this year carries a maximum sentence of two years.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice R.V. Raveendran Tuesday said: “The curative petition should be listed for hearing soon after the service of the notice.”
The apex court judgment of 1996 was delivered by a bench headed by then chief justice A.M. Ahmadi.
Following this judgment, all the seven accused were tried under the lesser serious charge.
A trial court in Bhopal convicted all the accused June 7, 2010, and awarded them two years’ jail terms.
Soon after their conviction and sentencing, they were granted bail. Their petition challenging the trial court verdict is pending.
At least 3,500 people were killed instantly and thousands more later after the deadly methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide’s pesticides plant in Bhopal on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984.