The Supreme Court today refused to stay the green tribunal’s order of setting aside the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to close Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin.
A bench, headed by Justice R F Nariman, sought response from Vedanta on the state government’s appeal against the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) order to reopen the plant.
The state had moved the top court, saying that the NGT had “erroneously” set aside various orders passed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) last year with regard to the Sterlite plant.
Soon after the order, Opposition leader MK Stalin today questioned the government’s stand on the reopening of the Sterlite copper smelting plant that has been confirmed by the Supreme Court of India.
In response, State Minister Thangamani said if needed the government will file a review petition on the matter. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami too assured the government would take steps to ensure Sterlite plant is not reopened. Not satisfied with the reply, the DMK staged walkout from the House.
On December 15, the NGT had set aside the state government’s order for closure of the Sterlite copper plant, saying it was “non sustainable” and “unjustified”.
It had asked the TNPCB to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances, subject to appropriate conditions for protection of environment in accordance with law within three weeks.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the Tamil Nadu government’s order issued under Section 18(1)(b) of the Water Act could not be referred to as an independent order ‘but relied on and endorsing the views of the TNPCB, which is under challenge, and are not sufficient for ordering closure or refusal to grant even consent’.