Vedanta Ltd has moved the Supreme Court challenging Madras High Court's December 21 order that stayed the reopening of the company’s Sterlite Copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin by asking for status quo.
The case will be listed once the court reopens on January 2. Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta’s petition has claimed that the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) order reopening the plant can be contested only in the apex court.
The Madras High Court had on December 21 issued a notice to Vedanta and asked all parties to maintain status quo till January 21 on implementing the NGT order. It had also asked the Tamil Nadu government to clarify if it proposed to file an appeal against NGT’s December 15 order.
The NGT on December 15 set aside the state government’s decision to shut down the Sterlite plant, terming it “non-sustainable and unjustifiable”. It also directed the state pollution control board to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent, paving the way for reopening the plant.
Sterlite’s plant was shut down after the state’s pollution control body refused renewal permission to the unit, initially for maintenance and later due to the state pollution control board's refusal to give its consent to operate. As many as 13 people were killed and several injured on May 22 when police opened fire on a crowd protesting against the plant they blamed for environmental pollution.
In its December 15 order, a six-member bench of the NGT, led by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said the plant would also be entitled to restoration of electricity for its operations. The green tribunal directed Vedanta to spend Rs 1 billion within a period of three years on projects like water supply, hospital and health services, and skill development in the area.