The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday pulled up the Thoothukudi collector for making “irresponsible” statements to the media on the issue of closure of the Sterlite plant and wondered if he was above the courts of law.
Hearing a petition filed on behalf of Sterlite Industries, which pleaded for the stay on the closure order issued by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board last month for its copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi, the National Green Tribunal took serious exception to the collector’s reported statement that he would ensure permanent closure of the plant.
“When a matter regarding the plant was being adjudicated by the Supreme Court, and a matter is pending before this tribunal, how can the collector issue such irresponsible statements? Does he think he is above the courts?” said an annoyed Justice M Chockalingam.
What added to the judge’s ire was the fact that the collector had failed to file a counter in the petition as directed by the tribunal.
Meanwhile, MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, activist Fatima Babu and National Trust for Clean Environment moved the green tribunal to implead themselves in the case.
The senior counsel for Sterlite, Aryama Sundaram, objected to the application of Babu stating that she was not directly aggrieved by the plant nor was she a party in the petition in the Supreme Court connected to the plant.
For this, the judge pointed out to previous orders of the tribunal that a person need not be directly affected to file a plea.