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The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster processing Of Claims Act, 1985

THE BHOPAL GAS LEAK DISASTER (PROCESSING OF CLAIMS) ACT
ACT NO. 21 OF
29th March
An Act to confer certain powers on the Central Government to secure
that claims arising out of or connected with the Bhopal gas leak
disaster are dealt with speedily effectively equitably and to the
best advantage of the claimants and for matters incidental thereto.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty – sixth Year of the
Republic of India as follows:–

1. Short title and commencement.

1. Short title and commencement. (1) This Act may be called the
Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act 1985.

(2) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 20th day of
February 1985.

2. Definitions.

2. Definitions. In this Act unless the context otherwise
requires–

(a) Bhopal gas leak disaster or disaster means the
occurrence on the 2nd and 3rd days of December 1984 which
involved the release of highly noxious and abnormally dangerous
gas from a plant in Bhopal (being a plant of the Union Carbide
India Limited a subsidiary of the Union Carbide Corporation
U.S.A.) and which resulted in loss of life and damage to property
on an extensive scale;

(b) claim means–

(i) a claim arising out of or connected with the
disaster for compensation or damages for any loss of life
or personal injury which has been or is likely to be
suffered;

(ii) a claim arising out of or connected with the
disaster for any damage to property which has been or is
likely to be sustained;

(iii) a claim for expenses incurred or required to be
incurred for containing the disaster or mitigating or
otherwise coping with the effects of the disaster;

(iv) any other claim (including any claim by way of
loss of business or employment) arising out of or connected
with the disaster;

(c) claimant means a person entitled to make a claim;

(d) Commissioner means the Commissioner appointed under
section 6;

(e) person includes the Government;

(f) Scheme means a Scheme framed under section 9.

Explanation: — For the purposes of clauses (b) and (c) where the
death of a person has taken place as a result of the disaster the
claim for compensation or damages for the death of such person shall
be for the benefit of the spouse children (including a child in the
womb) and other heirs of the deceased and they shall be deemed to be
the claimants in respect thereof.

3. Power of Central Government to represent claimants.

3. Power of Central Government to represent claimants. (1)
Subject to the other provisions of this Act the Central Government
shall and shall have the exclusive right to represent and act in
place of (whether within or outside India) every person who has made
or is entitled to make a claim for all purposes connected with such
claim in the same manner and to the same effect as such person.

(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the
provisions of sub – section (1) the purposes referred to therein
include–

(a) institution of any suit or other proceeding in or before
any court or other authority (whether within or outside India) or
withdrawal of any such suit or other proceeding and

(b) entering into a compromise.

(3) The provisions of sub – section (1) shall apply also in
relation to claims in respect of which suits or other proceedings have
been instituted in or before any court or other authority (whether
within or outside India) before the commencement of this Act:

Provided that in the case of any such suit or other proceeding
with respect to any claim pending immediately before the commencement
of this Act in or before any court or other authority outside India
the Central Government shall represent and act in place of or along
with such claimant if such court or other authority so permits.

4. Claimant’s right to be represented by a legal practition Power ofCentral
Government.

4. Claimant’s right to be represented by a legal practition
Power of Central Government. Notwithstanding anything contained in
section 3 in representing and acting in place of any person in
relation to any claim the Central Government shall have due regard to
any matters which such person may require to be urged with respect to
his claim and shall if such person so desires permit at the expense
of such person a legal practitioner of his choice to be associated in
the conduct of any suit or other proceeding relating to his claim.

5. Power of Central Government.

5. Power of Central Government. (1) For the purpose of
discharging its functions under this Act the Central Government shall
have the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of
Civil Procedure 1908 (5 of 1908.) in respect of the following
matters namely:–

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person
from any part of India and examining him on oath;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from
any court or office;

(e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or
documents;

(f) any other matter which the Central Government may by
notification in the Official Gazette specify.

(2) Every notification made under clause (f) of sub – section (1)
shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made before each House
of Parliament while it is in session for a total period of thirty
days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more
successive sessions and if before the expiry of the session
immediately following the session or the successive sessions
aforesaid both Houses agree in making any modification in the
notification or both Houses agree that the notification should not be
made the notification shall thereafter have effect only in such
modified form or be of no effect as the case may be; so however
that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to
the validity of anything previously done under that notification.

6. Commissioner and other officers and employees.

6. Commissioner and other officers and employees. (1) For the
purpose of assisting it in discharging its functions under this Act
the Central Government may appoint an officer to be known as the
Commissioner for the welfare of the victims of the Bhopal gas leak
disaster and such other officers and employees to assist him as that
Government may deem fit.

(2) The Commissioner shall discharge such functions as may be
assigned to him by the Scheme.

(3) The Commissioner and such of the officers subordinate to him
as may be authorised by the Central Government by notification in the
Official Gazette in this behalf may for the discharge of their
functions under the Scheme exercise all or any of the powers which
the Central Government may exercise under section 5.

(4) All officers and authorities of the Government shall act in
aid of the Commissioner.

(5) The Commissioner and the officers subordinate to him author-
ised to discharge functions under the scheme shall be deemed to be a
civil court for the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the
code of criminal procedure 1973.

7. Power to delegate.

7. Power to delegate. The Central Government may by notification
in the Official Gazette delegate subject to such conditions and
limitations as may be specified in the notification all or any of its
powers under this Act (excepting the power under section 9 to frame a
Scheme) to the Government of Madhya Pradesh or an officer of the
Central Government not below the rank of a Joint Secretary to that
Government or an officer of the Government of Madhya Pradesh not below
the rank of a Secretary to that Government. or the Commmissinor

1. Ins. by Act 24 of 1992 s. 2.
2. Ins. by s. 3 ibid.

8. In computing; under the Limitation Act.

8. (1) In computing; under the Limitation Act 1963 (36 of 1963.)
or any other law for the time being in force the period of limitation
for the purpose of instituting a suit or other proceeding for the
enforcement of a claim any period after the date on which such claim
is registered under and in accordance with the provisions of the
Scheme shall be excluded.

(2) Nothing in sub – section (1) shall apply to any proceedings by
way of appeal.

9. Power to frame a Scheme.

9. Power to frame a Scheme. (1) The Central Government shall for
carrying into effect the purposes of this Act frame by notification
in the Official Gazette a Scheme as soon as may be after the
commencement of this Act.

(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the
provisions of sub – section (1) a Scheme may provide for all or any of
the following matters namely:–

(a) the registration of the claims under the Scheme and all
matters connected with such registration;

(b) the processing of the claims for securing their
enforcement and matters connected therewith;

(c) the maintenance of records and registers in respect of
the claims;

(d) the creation of a fund for meeting expenses in
connection with the administration of the Scheme and of the
provisions of this Act;

(e) the amounts which the Central Government may after due
appropriation made by Parliament by law in that behalf credit to
the fund referred to in clause (d) and any other amounts which
may be credited to such fund;

(f) the utilisation by way of disbursal (including
apportionment) or otherwise of any amounts received in
satisfaction of the claims;

(g) the officer (being a judicial officer of a rank not
lower than that of a District Judge) who may make such disbursal
or apportionment in the event of a dispute;

(h) the maintenance and audit of accounts with respect to
the amounts referred to in clauses (e) and (f);

(i) the functions of the Commissioner and other officers and
employees appointed under section 6.

(3) Every Scheme framed under sub – section (1) shall be laid as
soon as may be after it is framed before each House of Parliament
while it is in session for a total period of thirty days which may be
comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions and
if before the expiry of the session immediately following the session
or the successive sessions aforesaid both Houses agree in making any
modification in the Scheme or both Houses agree that the Scheme should
not be framed the Scheme shall thereafter have effect only in such
modified form or be of no effect as the case may be; so however
that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to
the validity of anything previously done under that Scheme.

10. Removal of doubts.

10. Removal of doubts. For the removal of doubts it is hereby
declared that–

(a) any sums paid by the Government to a claimant otherwise
than by way of disbursal of the compensation or damages received
as a result of the adjudication or settlement of his claim by a
court or other authority shall be deemed to be without prejudice
to the adjudication or settlement by such court or other
authority of his claim to receive compensation or damages in
satisfaction of his claim and shall not be taken into account by
such court or other authority in determining the amount of
compensation or damages to which he may be entitled in
satisfaction of his claim;

(b) in disbursing under the Scheme the amount received by
way of compensation or damages in satisfaction of a claim as a
result of the adjudication or settlement of the claim by a court
or other authority deduction shall be made from such amount of
the sums if any paid to the claimant by the Government before
the disbursal of such amount.

11. Overriding effect.

11. Overriding effect. The provisions of this Act and of any
Scheme framed thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything
inconsistent therewith contained in any enactment other than this Act
or any instrument having effect by virtue of any enactment other than
this Act.

12. Repeal and saving.

12. Repeal and saving. (1) The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster
(Processing of Claims) Ordinance 1985 (1 of 1985) is hereby
repealed.

(2) Notwithstanding such repeal anything done or any action
taken under the said Ordinance shall be deemed to have been done or
taken under the corresponding provisions of this Act.

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