CHENNAI: The special leave petition filed by Vedanta Limited before the Supreme Court has accused the Madras High Court of 'favouritism' while delivering the judgement in the Sterlite case. However, the company has withdrawn the statement and filed an amendment petition saying it has no intention of disrespecting the divisional bench.
In page 870 ground E of the petition, a copy of which is available with The New Indian Express, Vedanta said: "The Hon'ble High Court while rejecting every single contention of the petitioner (Sterlite), and discounting every single report relied on by the petitioner appears to have displayed a favourable predisposition towards some parties. The petitioner submits that such predisposition demonstrated clear inability to render fair judgement. It is further submitted that Hon'ble High Court has expressed some opinions acquired outside the context of the judicial proceedings such as reference to the cases pending against the petitioner in other states."
A senior Tamil Nadu government official, who was present when the petition came up for admission on August 26, told The New Indian Express that senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan had in fact pointed this before the Supreme Court. "Probably fearing a backlash, Vedanta has filed an amendment application on Monday seeking to expunge the statements from the petition," the official said.
In the amendment application, which is also available with The New Indian Express, Vedanta claimed the paragraph was found in the draft circulated by an associate, which was then struck off while finalising the petition. "However, owing to inadvertence, the said pleading seems to have remained in the final draft. Considering the voluminous judgement and consequently the petition that itself runs into hundreds of pages, the following paragraph was overlooked while finalising the petition."
Vedanta also said there was no intent, deliberate or otherwise, to state anything that was even remotely disrespectful of the divisional bench. The company said it seeks to expunge the statements that have inadvertently found a place in the petition filed.
On August 18, the Madras High Court divisional bench, comprising Justices TS Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan, had rejected the plea of the mining giant Vedanta seeking to reopen its Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi, which has been shut since May 2018 over pollution concerns.