Bhopal India, May 6, Reuter: The U.S. Union Carbide Corporation accused an Indian judge of bias on Friday and asked him to withdraw from hearing a multibillion dollar compensation suit arising from the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
Judge M.W. Deo last December ordered Union Carbide to pay 270 million dollars as interim compensation to dependents of the 2,500 dead and 200,000 injured by the leak of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas from its pesticides plant at Bhopal.
Another court last month cut the amount to 192 million dollars.
The government of India, on behalf of all claimants, is demanding 3.3 billion dollars from the Connecticut based multinational.
Union Carbide lawyer Fali Nariman said Deo had developed bias in the case, He said the judge had been moved by the plight of the victims and had ordered interim relief without establishing liability.
“We would prefer if you opt for recusal (withdrawal) in the suit, as was done by your predecessor GS. Patel,” Nariman said.
Judge Patel withdrew from hearing the suit in March last year after it was discovered he was one ‘of the 525,000 people claiming compensation for damage cause by the disaster.
Opposing the judge’s withdrawal, Vibhuti Jha, a lawyer representing the victims, accused Union Carbide of using delaying tactics,” the defendant cannot be allowed to delay progress of the case”, he said.
Judge also said he would rule on Union Carbide’s application on June 6.
Article extracted from this publication >> May 13, 1988