Data source
Date of text
22 Dec 1989
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
AIR 1990 Supreme Court 1480
Court name
Supreme Court of India
Mukherji, S.
Singh, K., N.
Ranganathan, S.
Ahmadi, A., M.
Saikia, K., N.

Following the Bhopal Gas Leak tragedy when over 3000 people were killed by the leak of a highly toxic Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas from a storage tank at the Bhopal plant of Union Carbide (India) Ltd., the Government of India, acting as parens patriae, passed the Bhopal Gas Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act (1985) to take over and pursue the claims of the victims, as they were unable in their circumstances to pursue their claims fully and properly.
The Petitioner challenged the validity of the Bhopal Gas Disaster (Proceedings of Claims) Act, 1985 in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court held that the Act was valid and that the State had rightly taken over the exclusive right to represent and act on behalf of every person entitled to make a claim, as a majority of the victims were poor and illiterate.
Consequently, the exclusion of the victims from filing their own cases was held to be proper. The Court also held that the Act only deals with civil liability and as such does not curtail or affect rights in respect of criminal liability.