Leaders, Thoothukudi people welcome HC order on Sterlite

Chennai: Political leaders of Tamilnadu have welcomed the Madras High Court’s today order dismissing a petition filed by Vedanta seeking to re-open its Copper Smelter Plant at Tuticorin, where 13 anti-Sterlite protestors were killed in a police firing on 22 May, 2018.

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, DMK president M K Stalin, the party’s MP Kanimozhi, AMMK chief TTV Dinakaran and other leaders have welcomed the judgement.

Meanwhile, the people of the coastal Tuticorin district hailed the court verdict and celebrated it by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

Security has been tightened in and around the Vedanta plant and at other important places, with the deployment of more than 1,500 police personnel on bandobust duty.

Passing orders on the petition filed by Vedanta Group, a Division Bench comprising Justices T S Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbarayan upheld the Tamilnadu government Order closing down the plant and sealing it.

The Court also rejected Vedanta’s plea to suspend the operation of the order till it files an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The Vedanta Group had on 27 February last year moved the High Court seeking a direction to the state government to allow re-opening of the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant at Tuticorin.

This followed the 18 February Supreme Court order, asking the company to approach the Madras High Court, while passing orders on the Tamil Nadu government’s plea against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order giving the nod to re-open the plant.

The Apex Court had on 18 February, 2019 set aside NGT order to reopen the Sterlite plant, while allowing an appeal filed by the State government against the 15 December, 2018 NGT order directing the TNPCB to pass fresh orders of Renewal of Consent (RoC) and issue authorisation to Vedanta Limited to handle hazardous substances.

Passing orders the Apex Court Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman concluded that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the appeal by Vedanta, against the closure of the plant.