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Convicted Union Carbide Officials Urge Judge To Recuse From 1984 Bhopal Gas Cases

Pervez Bari 

BHOPAL—Three former employees of Union Carbide Company (UCC) have requested the Bhopal District Judge to recuse herself from hearing their appeals.

The employees-Satya Prakash Choudhary, J. Mukund, and Kishore Kamdar-have asked the judge to transfer their cases to another judge.

The appellants are among the seven convicts in cases of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

They said Giri Bala Singh was deputy commissioner of gas relief welfare for four years starting from 1997. Therefore, they cannot expect justice from her.

Advocate Ajay Gupta said, “We have moved an application in her court, requesting her to withdraw herself on this ground and transfer the appeal cases to another court.

Singh hears appeals against the 2010 order of the Chief Judicial Court, both by the convicts and the prosecution agency CBI, the former appealing against their conviction and the latter seeking enhancement of sentence for the convicts. The convicts were sentenced to two years of imprisonment and released on bail the same day.

The then CJM Mohan Tiwari had sentenced seven employees to two years of jail in 2010. 

The convicts are the then non-executive Union Carbide India Ltd chairman Keshub Mahindra, managing director Vijay Gokhale, vice-president Kishore Kamdar, works manager J Mukund, production manager SP Choudhary, plant superintendent KV Shetty and production assistant SI Qureshi in the case relating to the leakage of methyl isocyanate gas from Bhopal factory on the night of December 2-3, 1984. 

They had appealed against the trial court’s judgment before District Judge, who had granted them bail the same day.

Singh, the district judge, has informed that she is fully aware of the facts of the matter because she had officiated as deputy commissioner of the Welfare Commissioner set up under the Bhopal Gas Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985. Accordingly, the said appeals can be disposed of with a short hearing instead of a detailed one. In other words, it means that there is no need to hear the case again.

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