The judge in the 1984 Bhopal gas leak trial Wednesday issued a temporary order restraining Union Carbide Corp. from reaching separate settlements with victims who have filed claims in U.S. courts.

District Court Judge M.W. Deo said he would rule July 29 on a petition filed by the Indian government requesting the U.S.-based multinational company be blocked from dealing with claims laid against it in courts in Texas and Connecticut.

Deo ordered that "in the interest of justice, the defendant be restrained . . . not to make any settlement or compromise with any individuals until further orders."

India is suing Union Carbide for $3 billion to seek compensation for nearly 3,000 people killed and about 500,000 it says were affected by the Dec. 3, 1984 leak of toxic methyl isocyanate gas from the company's Bhopal pesticide plant.