SC refuses to stay NGT order on restarting Sterlite unit

Published: 10th June 2013 07:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2013 07:25 PM   |  A+A-


The Supreme Court today refused to stay the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order allowing Sterlite Industries Ltd to recommence operation of its copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district under the supervision of an expert committee.

"It would be appropriate to wait for the judgement (of NGT). Let the judgement come, then we may see," a bench of Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Madan B Lokur said.

The bench was hearing the plea of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) seeking quashing of the NGT's May 31 order allowing Sterlite, a UK-based Vedanta Group company, to restart its copper plant in the presence of a four-member committee for supervision.

The court, which has fixed the matter in the second week of July, also asked the NGT's expert committee to share with it the report sought by the panel on the functioning of the Sterlite's unit in Tamil Nadu.

The four-member expert committee, comprising Member Secretary of Central Pollution Control Board, a member or engineer from TNPCB and two members of IIT-Madras, has been appointed by the NGT to supervise the operations of the unit.

The NGT is scheduled to hear the case on July 10.

Earlier, TNPCB, on May 29, had ordered closure of the Sterlite plant on complaints that it was emitting toxic sulphur dioxide.

The Green panel then set aside the TNPCB order and allowed Sterlite Industries Ltd to recommence operation of its copper smelting unit.

It had also ordered constitution of the four-member panel to supervise the plant's operations.

The NGT had said the closure order was passed by TNPCB in an "abrupt manner" based on "mere apprehension" of gas leakage, without any scientific data to support the same.

Besides seeking quashing of the NGT's order, TNPCB has challenged its jurisdiction to hear Sterlite's plea.

TNPCB had defended its order and maintained that the plant emits toxic gases and complaints against it were genuine.


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