The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on the plea of UK-based Vedanta groupsubsidiary Sterlite Industries against the Madras High Court order for shutting down its smelting plant for alleged non-compliance of environmental norms.
The company has challenged the high court order claiming that it was not given a proper hearing and its submissions were ignored.
The high court had held that the Sterlite’s plant was within 25 km of an ecologically fragile area and the company has failed to develop a green belt of 250 metre width around its plant.
It had passed the order on a PIL filed by MDMK Leader Vaiko Gopalswamy and others on September 28, 2010.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and H L Gokhale of the apex court earlier had also taken on record the joint investigation report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on the emission control and effluent treatment measures undertaken by Sterlite Industries Ltd’s copper plant at Tuticorin.
The report had stated that the company had fulfilled all the norms and measures suggested.
In an interim direction on October 1, 2010, the apex court had stayed the operation of the Madras High Court order for closure of the plant.
The TNPCB had earlier told the court that it had directed the company to comply with various norms relating to treatment and effective disposal of the effluents allegedly containing high amounts of gypsum, discharged from the Sterlite unit in Tuticorin.
The bench had also recorded an undertaking from Sterlite Industries that it has complied with all the “green belt” and “health” facilities norms required for ensuring public safety and health.