The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on the appeal filed by Vedanta Limited against the Madras High Court’s verdict refusing to allow the reopening of the Sterlite Copper’s smelter unit located in Thoothukudi.
The SC bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee refused to grant interim relief to Vedanta group, and asked the lawyers to argue for the stay of the High Court’s decision in the next hearing, which has been scheduled after four weeks.
Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Limited moved to Supreme Court on August 26 after the Madras High Court refused to allow the reopening of the plant.
A bench comprising Justice TS Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan had earlier ordered that the plant cannot be opened and dismissed all petitions by Vedanta. This was a major victory for the residents and activists who strongly protested against the Sterlite factory.
Earlier in June, Chairman Anil Agarwal had said, “We have lost about USD 200 million in bottom line (profits).” He also stated that the stoppage of production at the Tuticorin plant of the firm's unit Sterlite led to the country having to import copper, spending precious foreign exchange.
In 2018, residents along with activists had organised sustained protests against the plant for environmental pollution allegations since the 1990s when it had originally been set up. Thirteen civilians were shot dead during the agitations.
On May 24 2018, the Tamil Nadu Government shut down the plant for violating environmental norms. In June 2018, the company had approached the National Green Tribunal challenging the closure orders of the state government. It had argued that the state government’s response was disproportionate. The NGT found the closure of the plant to be ‘unjustifiable’ and ‘non-sustainable,’
On February 18, 2019, the Supreme Court had set aside the National Green Tribunal order that allowed the opening of the plant and asked the company to approach the Madras High Court for interim relief.