The bhopal gas tragedy Group 5 AvishekBasu Malik Chintan Dave HanuPrateekKunduru Sameer Agrawal: Sujith Kumar: Vikram Veer Singh: Vishal Shetty: YashAgrawal:
What, in your opinion, is the ethical orientation ofq1: Union Carbide USAq2: Union Carbide India Blame Game started as union carbide US says that American Inspector’s warnings were ignored. Indian factory inspector never entered the factory. Though both Inspector and municipality objected which was overruled by State Govt. The home plant in Virginia had electronic control and backup system whereas Indian plant was not even satisfying the Indian specification. Why is it that the union carbide was favoring political parties and influential person ?? Can human life be compromised for the sake of employment and should politics be played on this ??
What, in your opinion, is the ethical orientation ofq3: Government q4: Supreme Court Government protected themselves under the article 300 of Indian Constitution. Also it did not take into account any damages to be paid to the victims due to its ineffective controls required under the factories effect. Also it didn’t take the responsibility in fallacy of letting slum dwellers stay close to factory, apart from permitting it to operate within city limits. Supreme Court though awarded damages to the victims to be paid by the company, the criminal charges against the company were withdrawn. Also the judgement which it gave in 1996 where they absolved the company on basis of no proof of wilful negligence reeks of naivety. Also it didn’t demand accountability of state under strict interpretation of article 300 in fear of opening a Pandora’s Box.
Q5: What is the relationship between law and ethics? Neither laws nor ethics are fixed principles Ethical beliefs lead to the development of laws and regulations to prevent certain behaviors or encourage others Laws can change or disappear as ethical beliefs change Without an ethical delivery the law becomes a weapon and tool for deceit and treachery toward the very society the law was designed to protect and enhance. Ethical values and legal principles are usually closely related, but ethical obligations typically exceed legal duties. In some cases, the law mandates ethical conduct. Examples of the application of law or policy to ethics include employment law, federal regulations, and codes of ethics. Though law often embodies ethical principles, law and ethics are far from co-extensive. The law does not prohibit many acts that would be widely condemned as unethical. And the contrary is true as well. The law also prohibits acts that some groups would perceive as ethical. For example lying or betraying the confidence of a friend is not illegal, but most people would consider it unethical. Yet, speeding is illegal, but many people do not have an ethical conflict with exceeding the speed limit. Law is more than simply codifying ethical norms.
Q6. Should the ethical standards and norms vary with the economic and social conditions and across geographies?
Q7: What should be the ground rules of environmental ethics? Environmental ethics today is highly skewed towards the anthropocentric point of view. We should consider it equally from a bio-centric point of view. In the long run there should be a balance between deep ecology and shallow ecology. The agenda should be “Think globally, act locally”. The Third World is highly different from the developed world and so will be the conservation/utilitarian policies of the same. There is a need for development but it should not come at the cost of risking future generations.
Q8: What should be the view of a host country vis-à-vis MNCs and vice versa in terms of ethics? The host country should not be in fear or awe or both of an MNC. They should realize that they have the bargaining power w.r.t infrastructure, trained workers and access to their own markets. Using these, they could adopt policies which help them to negotiate with MNCs on equal terms. A case in point could be the relationship between Boeing and China. With respect to ethics, the host country should also formulate laws which prevent gross exploitation of its own people. It should respect the human rights of all, pay a living wage to its employees and should ensure that any harm, direct or indirect, should not be caused to its people. Bribery should not be endorsed, allowed to influence and should be vehemently opposed. Cultural relativism and universal moral principles should be kept in mind.
Q9: How does people’s opinion normally get heard in such a situation? How would you suggest that improves? Normally people’s opinion are do not get heard in such situation. It can be improved by media involvement and SMS petitions. Q10. Are free market mechanisms a necessary and sufficient guarantee of ethical behavior? Role of government in free in free market mechanisms is limited to tax collection, so free market mechanisms is not sufficient guarantee of ethical behavior, it should be supplied with stringent tort laws.
Analysis for the readerQ11. How do we evaluate ethically every actor in this sordid and tragic drama Warren Anderson & Union Carbide Officials of USA: Profit was the utmost priority ,Government interventions they lost ownership is not a valid reasons as the safety standards is the priority in these kind of manufacturing companies Union Carbide Officials of India: Operating managers and personnel inside the plant and as the safety mechanisms are already installed, its their responsibility to manage it in running condition. Indian Government: Intention: Increase in crop production, Providing Job and Employment At least few Americans should have been allowed to operate permanently Limitation: Scare away International investors due to litigations Madhya Pradesh Government: Should have made arrangements so that factory was never setup within the city premises and local leaders should not get into the operations of the company Supreme Courts : Ruled Not a criminal offence But willful negligence in case of dangerous chemicals handling should have been tried as criminal offence rather than tort
Analysis for the readerQ12. if you were to join a company manufacturing or distributing a dangerous chemical, what steps would you like to take to be on the right side of the law and of your own personal ethics? Do a detailed study of the product manufactured, its effects and usage. Check up International and National Safety standards for manufacturing and Distribution and ensure that is in place and renew those certificates periodically. Check on Quality audits and automate safety mechanisms carried on within and out of factory premises under manual monitoring. Educate on the product & safety to all workers Never let a compromise on workers standards and never leave the local politics to get involve with unions Have multiple contingency options.
Analysis for the readerQ13. what would be your assessment of the ability of free market mechanisms to be systemically ethical on their own, with adequate safeguards provided by the state through legal and administrative means as an arbitrator? Would your answer be the same for India and America? Q14. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC STEPS ONE WOULD NEED TO TAKE IN DEALING WITH FOREIGN MULTINATIONALS DOING BUSINESS IN INDIA, TO ENSURE THEIR ETHICAL CONDUCT? Companies from the developed countries should be more circumspect before setting up manufacturing units. Safety standards must always be kept stringent All the required details must be provided to the concerned authorities to manage any mishaps The companies should show sense of moral responsibility towards the host nation Outdated and unsafe processes should not be followed elsewhere In the Bhopal unit, the standard measures did not satisfy even the Indian specifications Union Carbide wasn’t allowed permission to build plants in the US itself They had no right to put the lives of Indians in danger by following their unsafe procedures
Indian government should be more stringent in their foreign investments They should not enforce employment at the cost of efficiency Corruption and lack of modern technical knowledge hampered its approach The components of the Bhopal unit were in disarray and it was allowed to function shows a highly negligent approach Authorities also knew that the safety procedures weren’t foolproof The state should never have allowed a factory to be set up within city limits The permission of slum dwellers to stay close to the factory was another folly The negligent authorities were ignorant about the nature of chemicals
Analysis for the readerQ15. DO YOU AGREE WITH THE ETHICS OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT IN THE KASTURI LAL CASE AND IN THE BHOPAL CASE JUDGEMENT OF 1996 ABSOLVING THE COMPANY OF MANSLAUGHTER NO – NEGLIGENCE SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN RULED OUT The Supreme Court in 1996 held that no one from the company could be considered for punishment under the charge of manslaughter, as they found no reason to believe that this was willful negligence. Murder requires either the intent to kill or the knowledge that one's actions are likely to result in death; manslaughter, on the other hand, requires a lack of any prior intention to kill or create a deadly situation. Clearly in this case there was negligence to follow the usual safety norms to a certain extent. Someone should have been held accountable for the negligence to implement the safety measures at the plant In the KasturiLalvs the state case, the court took the easy way out and did not deem the state accountable as it felt that if it ruled otherwise it would open up a Pandora’s box making way for more litigations and liabilities.