Judge Requested to Recuse Herself from Bhopal Gas Disaster Cases

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Appellants say they do not expect justice from Giribala Singh because of her past

Pervez Bari | Clarion India

BHOPAL – An application has been moved in the court of Bhopal District Judge Giribala Singh by former employees of Union Carbide Company (UCC), Satya Prakash Choudhary, J. Mukund and Kishore Kamdar who appealed to the District Judge to withdraw herself from hearing their appeals and transfer it to some other judge.

The appellants are among the seven convicts in cases pertaining to 1984 Bhopal gas disaster. They said Giri Bala Singh was deputy commissioner of gas relief welfare for four years starting from 1997 and therefore they cannot expect justice from her.

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

Singh is hearing appeals against the 2010 order of the CJM 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, who were sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment and released on bail the same day.

In 2010, the then Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan Tiwari had sentenced 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. All were given two years of jail.

They had appealed against the judgment of trial court 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 matter because she had officiated as deputy commissioner of the Welfare Commissioner set up under the Bhopal Gas Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985, and 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 de novo.

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