On Friday 13 Jan 2017, the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, in Bhopal, issued summons to Dow Chemical via email. Dow is required to explain why its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Union Carbide Corporation, has not attended court in Bhopal to face the outstanding criminal charges pertaining to the 1984 Bhopal Disaster.
Before now, Dow would seem to have been happily evading the courts demands with the complicity of the US Department of Justice which has failed to correctly deliver the four previous court notices addressed to its Michigan HQ. But, according to the Times of India, the court has now stated that:
“as per the provisions under Section 65 of Code of Criminal Procedure, court can order to execute summons using any new means.
“It is evident from the documents that on June 15, 2004 court summoned Dow Chemical. Several reminders were sent thereafter but no execution report was received. The concerning branch of the home department asked CBI several times to execute the summons but CBI is not taking interest in such a serious issue…”
Times of India goes on to report: “Court said it is evident from the court order dated July 27, 2013 that Dow Chemical moved a petition before Madhya Pradesh high court (MPHC) requesting the court to stay proceedings that are going on in this court against it. Petition was dismissed by high court. Thus, though the execution report of the summons issued to the company have not been received, the company has kept an eye on the proceedings of this court and knows the case progress in this court.”
Representatives of Bhopal Group for Information & Action, whose application in the court led to the order, explained that serving notice through email will obviate the cooperation of the US Department of Justice. They said that because of the non-cooperation of the DoJ, four notices issued by the Bhopal District Court in the last two and half years were not served on Dow Chemical. As per today’s order, the notice will be sent by the Bhopal Court to Amy Wilson, corporate secretary of Dow Chemical company. Dow is expected to appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court on 13th February 2017.
More on the outstanding court cases against Dow Chemical/ Union Carbide: CLICK
White House ‘We The People’ petition asks the US Department of Justice to accord with Mutual legal Assistance Treaty and deliver summons to Dow Chemical: CLICK
White House response to petition: CLICK
How the Department of Justice dealt with BP after the Deepwater Horizon disaster: CLICK