BHOPAL GAS LEAK CASE WITH REFERENCE TO THE NO- FAULT LIABILITY

It’s a very general notion that law of torts work on fault based liability means whenever there is a wrongful act or omission, liability would be there. But what about the no fault liability? Have you heard about that? In this article, I’ll be dealing with the major judgments explaining what a no- fault liability is and how it helps the plaintiff or the victims.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
2. LEGALITIES
3. IS STRICT LIABILITY DIFFERENT FROM NO-FAULT LIABILITY?
4. CONCLUSION

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED ON 3RD DECEMBER, 1984?

It was midnight of 3-4 December, 1984 when nearly 3000 thousand lost their lives just due to a gas leak called methyl Isocyanate which mixed with air causing breathing problems to the people who inhaled it. It affected plant and animal species as well. These symptoms and injuries continued to persist even after 30 years of this incident. The leak was happened because of negligence on the part of company as no proper maintenance was given to the plant.

LEGALITIES

Many people suffered due to this gas leak so, they moved to court filling their petitions against Union Carbide Corporation. As a result, Union of India taking into consideration all the complaints passed an ordinance and filed a petition in Bhopal district court and in US district court as well. US court directed Union of India to approach in India only for convenience. Bhopal court ordered Union Carbide Corporation to pay 3.3 Billion dollar, then Union Carbide Corporation moved to High Court to reduce the amount and as a result, the amount was reduced but the conflict wasn’t solved yet.

So, the parties decided to approach SC who evolved the concept of no-fault liability and ordered the Union Carbide Corporation to pay 470 million by 31st march, 1989.

IS NO- FAULT LIABILITY DIFFERENT FROM STRICT LIABILITY?

No- fault liability is also known as absolute liability evolved in 1989 with 100% liability. It is a liability when the defendant is held liable and he doesn’t have any remedies or defenses as compared to the strict liability. In case of no- fault liability, person will be held liable whether he has any intention to commit the crime or not, whether he took all reasonable care or not. Even act of god and plaintiff’s own fault can’t save him. Absolute liability is just a modified version of strict liability.  Earlier defendants used to make excuses and take advantage of defenses available that’s why govt. introduced absolute liability to make them held liable.

CONCLUSION

No matter government has introduced many new laws after this incident but its effects are still seen in the lives of people living there having breathing problems still going on from one generation to another. But this principle of absolute liability proves to be beneficial in cases when the harm caused is serious and threatening to the lives of many people.