Vizag Gas Leak Liability: ‘Strict’ or ‘Absolute’!
Volume III, Issue III, 2020
During the wee hours of 7th May, 2020, a major leak of Styrene gas occurred from a polymer plan near Visakhapatnam, impacting villages in a five-km radius, leaving many people dead and scores of citizens suffering from breathlessness and other problems. The National Green Tribunal took the cognisance of the gas leak incident and suo moto began a probe into the matter. By the order dated 8th May, 2020, the tribunal observed that LG Polymers had prima facie not complied with the provisions of the Manufacturer, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 and accordingly said that the principle of ‘strict liability’ would apply in this case to determine their liability for the incident. While the NGT’s proactiveness is laudable, the application of the ‘strict liability’ rule in this case is a matter of concern.