NEW DELHI, Oct 14, Reuter: The Indian High Court has replaced the Judge a U.S. company accused of prejudging compensation hearings for victims of the Bhopal gas disaster, the United News of India said on Friday.
The News Agency said high court Judge S.K. Seth accepted a petition on Thursday from Union Carbide Corporation which argued that Judge M.W. Deo was biased and sentimental in awarding interim compensation of 270 million dollars.
The compensation was later reduced by a higher court to 192 million dollars. A further union carbide appeal to the Supreme Court over the award is due to be heard in New Delhi on November 1.
Union carbide argued in its petition that the interim compensation order amounted to prejudging the 3.3 billion dollar case filed by the government on behalf of 525,000 people claiming compensation after the 1984 disaster, the world’s worst industrial accident.
More than 3,000 were killed and 200,000 injured when’ poisonous gas leaked out of a pesticides plant at Bhopal in Central India owned by an Indian subsidiary of Union carbide.
Seth, sitting in the Central Indian City of Jabalpur, ordered the case to be heard by the next most Senior Judge but said there was no need to restart the hearings.
Deo, who presided for more than a year, was the fourth Judge to hear the suit since it was filed in 1986. His predecessor GS Patel quit early last year when it was discovered he was among those claiming compensation.
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