SC accepts resignation of Ahmadi as BMHT chief

PNS | New Delhi

Exactly a month after he expressed his desire to quit in the wake of controversy over the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict, the Supreme Court on Monday accepted the resignation of former Chief Justice of India AM Ahmadi as chairman of Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust (BMHT) and allowed the Centre to take over its management.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia and Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, allowed the Centre to take steps to wind up the trust and run the hospital set up for the benefit of survivors. Attorney General GE Vahanvati conveyed the decision of the Centre to take over the management of the hospital.

The Bench accepted the letter by Ahmadi expressing his desire to be relieved as the chairman of the hospital and placed on record its appreciation of the services rendered by the former CJI in running the trust for the last 12 years. Ahmadi had written to then CJI KG Balakrishnan.

Ahmadi was part of the SC Bench that had taken decisions on the Bhopal gas tragedy case, including the dilution of harsher penal charges in 1996. With public outrage over the verdict and the Opposition cornering the Government on the issue, Law Minister Veerappa Moily had gone to the extent of charging the judiciary for reducing the biggest industrial disaster as a truck accident. In turn, Ahmadi blamed the Government.

Ahmadi was appointed as the chairman on May 15, 1998. Following a SC order, the accused company, Union Carbide, had set up a trust in London in March 1992 and Ian Percival was appointed as its sole trustee.

However, after the death of Percival, BMHT was constituted. The MP Government leased out land to the trust to set up the hospital.