Govt Declines to Join Issue with Nariman on Bhopal

New Delhi
Govt Declines to Join Issue with Nariman on Bhopal
Government today declined to join issue on the claims of eminent jurist Fali S Nariman that it is not likely to succeed in reopening certain cases relating to Bhopal gas tragedy, including the one on resettlement and dilution of charges against the convicts.

"Fali Nariman has his opinion...We have our own opinion. Why should I comment on what he has to say? He is a senior lawyer," Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said here.

He was asked to react to Nariman's stand that the government is not likely to succeed in reopening certain cases related to Bhopal gas tragedy.

To a poser on Nariman's claim that Attorney General G E Vahanvati's opinion that a curative petition can be filed in the apex court to reopen the case and now charge the convicts under a higher offence -- 304 (II), rather than 304 (A) -- will not hold ground, Moily said government is "yet to seek" the AG's opinion.

"It was the decision of the GoM and the cabinet to look at certain issues...We are yet to seek the AG's opinion," he said.

Moily said no timeline can be fixed on the issue of reopening cases as "there was a process involved."

"No, I don't think so...A settlement is a settlement and unless there is some fraud involved, it's never reopened," Nariman had said yesterday on whether government will succeed in reopening the settlement with Union Carbide with the hope of increasing the compensation amount for the victims of the 1984 industrial disaster.

Moily said the marathon meeting of the GoM on Bhopal indicated the "urgency" on part of the government. "There is no question of further delay. It will not be put in cold storage," he told reporters.
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