Bhopal: A local court in Bhopal Monday rejected an NGO's plea to raise the quantum of punishment given to the convicts in the Bhopal gas tragedy case. The petition to raise the quantum of punishment in the case was filed by the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghthan convenor Abdul Jabbar and others.
Rejecting the plea, District and Session Judge Sushma Khosla said that the NGO could at best assist the prosecution, but had no liberty to become a party in the case. Expressing unhappiness over the development, Jabbar said that it took three years for the court to decide on the admissibility of the petition. He claimed that it was a violation of the IPC amended section 372 (WA), which says that a person can become a party in the case in which the prosecution is inactive and the concerned persons are not interested in taking the matter to its logical end.
"In this particular case, unfortunately, this was happening since the beginning of the matter," Jabbar, who has been fighting for the rights of the gas victims since 1984, said while reacting to the decision. The petition was filed by Jabbar and others after the judgement of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Court, which according to them, awarded lesser punishment to the accused in the case in 2010. It urged the court to award punishment to the accused under sections 304 A, 335, 336, 37 and 38 of the IPC.
The gas tragedy took place in the Madhya Pradesh capital on the intervening nights of December 2-3 in 1984, killing thousands and maiming lakh of others. 26 years after the world's worst industrial disaster, the CJM court had onvicted all the seven persons, including former Union Carbide Chairman Keshub Mahindra, in the case and awarded them a maximum of two years imprisonment.