The Aftermath of Bhopal Gas Tragedy and It’s Laws

The Aftermath of Bhopal Gas Tragedy and It’s Laws

The very famous tragedy in the heart of central India-Bhopal which is known as “The Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984” -the tragedy happened at the midnight of cold shivering winters on 2nd and 3rd December 1984 at Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, the leakage of very inherent dangerous Methyl Isocyanides (MIC) gas which destroyed various human life, animals and also to the Environment.

The aftermath of the tragedy is that we are blessed to have Environment Protection Act of 1986and for the claims another act was passed by the Parliament-The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985which was enacted on 29th March 1985. Prior to this tragedy till 1984, there was no central legislation related to the environment. The tragedy dealt with certain laws like Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991 and Factories Act of 1948. 

The Environment Protection Act 1986 provides protection for an improvement of environment and prevention of hazards for humans, plants, other living creatures. This act strengthens the regulations on pollution control and environment protection by hazardous industries. In the landmark case of M.C Mehta v. Union of India, 1987, SC 1086, Rule of Absolute Liability was laid down by the Indian Judiciary which is fault based liability (Shriram Fertilizer Factory in New Delhi on 4th Dec 1985) where the oleum gas was leaked from the bursting of the tank containing oleum gas which was caused by human intervention and other default in the fertilizer factory.

Henceforth, The Bhopal Gas Tragedy was an eye opener incident for the law makers which gave their attention available to the environment and its protection. Prior to this tragedy, there were certain laws such as The Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act of 1974) and Air (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act of 1981 was already there but Environment Protection Act, of 1986 covers the gaps which were in need after the tragedy for the Environment Protection.


Sushmita Das

Assistant professor of Law

SAGE University, Bhopal

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