The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to grant any immediate interim relief to Vedanta Ltd to run its copper smelter plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi and said it will hear in detail its plea challenging the state government’s decision to close the plant over allegations of environmental pollution.
A three-judge Bench headed by Justice R F Nariman posted the company’s appeal, which challenged the Madras High Court verdict upholding the Tamil Nadu government’s decision, for hearing in January 2021.
The State Pollution Control Board had, in April 2018, refused to renew the Consent to Operate certificate for the plants on the grounds that it had failed to adhere to norms. Subsequently, protests against the plant led to police firing in which 13 people were killed. Following this, the state government ordered the permanent closure of the plant.
In December 2018, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) allowed the reopening of the plant, but this was set aside by the Supreme Court, which said the NGT did not have the jurisdiction, more so when an appeal was pending before the appellate authority. The Madras High Court had on August 18, 2020 dismissed the company’s plea seeking permission to reopen the plant which was closed following protests over pollution.