Access to Justice: Human Rights Abuses Involving Corporations – India
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), 2011, ISBN 978-92-9037-153-6
114 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 5, 2012
The 1984 Bhopal gas disaster involving Union Carbide provoked a marked shift in perceptions concerning the conduct of corporations in India, leading to the enactment of stricter laws, emergence of new legal principles through the judiciary and development of enforcement mechanisms. India’s legal system, including its judicial organs, provides people with a number of avenues to seek access to justice in corporate-related human rights abuses. Some of these means have yet to be tested, while others need to be made more effective. Human rights concerns arise from corporate activity and struggles over control of land and water and mineral resources, widespread corruption, inadequate or vague laws, endemic judicial delays, and lack of robust enforcement mechanisms to make companies accountable. The laws of civil responsibility and other forms of liability have not been adequately concretized in emerging areas, including biotechnology and genetically modified organisms. The report maps the existing legal framework, identifies limitations and suggests areas where more substantial and sustained reforms are needed to guarantee redress to victims of corporate human rights abuses in India.
Keywords: corporate human rights abuses, access to justice, Indian legal system, constitutional torts, efficacy of environmental laws, absolute liability, public interest litigation, corruption, judicial delays, piercing of corporate veil, forum non conveniens, land acquisition
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