April 23, 2013

Supreme Court of India affirms $18.4 million punitive damages award

An editorial in Business Standard reports on a case in which the Supreme Court of India has affirmed a punitive damages award of "Rs 100 crone" in a contamination case against the operator of a copper smelting plant. That works out to $18.4 million, according to an on-line currency converter.

The editorial says India's Supreme Court has traditionally been hostile to punitive damages.  The author, who is apparently a student at Stanford law school, worries that the decision does not clearly explain the basis for the punitive damages award, possibly opening the door to expansion of punitive damages claims in future environmental litigation in India. 

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