Calling Dow Chemical a “cunning respondent’’, a Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Bhopal on Friday ordered that summons should be served on the company in the 1984 gas tragedy trial via email. The company is the owner of the erstwhile Union Carbide Corporation.
Watch What Else Is Making News
CJM Bhubhaskar Yadav slammed the CBI for taking little interest in serving the summons and used a petition filed by Dow Chemical in the high court as a proof that it was aware of criminal proceedings in the trial court.
“After being first asked to appear in 2004, several summons were issued to the company. Despite repeated directions to serve the summons, the CBI takes little interest in such a serious matter and sends a constable, who does not know anything, to represent it,’’ the court said in its one-page order.
While never acknowledging the summons, the company had challenged the trial court’s order in the high court and got a stay, which was vacated in 2013. Citing this high court order, the CJM said, “It’s clear that the proof of the summons having been served on the company was never submitted in the court but the company is keeping an eye and is aware of the court proceedings. Summons can’t be served directly on such a cunning respondent but an email can be sent and such (electronic delivery) is valid under Section 65 of the CrPC,’’ said the CJM while posting the matter to February 13.
The petitioners, Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti and Mahila Udyog Sangathan and Bhopal Group for Information and Action, had submitted a screenshot of the company’s website that had the email address of its authorised representative.