P.M. BRIEFING : Court Will Hear Bid to Increase Bhopal Settlement to $600 Million

From Times wire services

The Supreme Court today agreed to hold a hearing on a request that it boost from $470 million to $600 million the amount Union Carbide Corp. must pay to settle litigation over its liability in the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster.

The five-member Supreme Court panel that mediated the Feb. 14 accord said it would consider on Friday a petition to raise to $600 million the amount Union Carbide should pay for a dismissal of civil and criminal liability suits stemming from the world's worst industrial disaster.

The petition was filed Wednesday by the Assn. for Socio-Legal Literacy, which contends that the Supreme Court's approval of the $470-million settlement closed all legal avenues available to gas leak victims who dispute the figure, leaving them "remediless."

More than 3,400 people have died since the leak occurred, officials say. About 200,000 others were injured and on average, one death still occurs every day, they say.

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