The Supreme Court today refused to urgently hear a plea seeking direction to Tamil Nadu government to file a status report on its efforts to control arsenic and cadmium pollution in the groundwater around the Sterlite Copper’s smelting plant at Tuticorin.
At least 13 persons were killed and hundreds injured in the recent police firing at Tuticorin on thousands of protesters demanding the closure of the Vedanta Group-run Sterlite Industries for allegedly polluting the area causing severe health problems for the local residents and depletion of the water table.
The fresh plea has demanded a status report regarding the steps taken to remove the copper sludge deposited by the company that the petitioner alleged had polluted the groundwater across Tuticorin. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and MM Shantanagoudar said the petition will come up in due course in July after the summer vacation and refused to list it for an urgent hearing.
The plea filed by social activist P Shiv Kumar, through advocate N Rajaraman, also sought filing of a status report for implementation of the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission for registration of information regarding the deaths in an encounter between a police and others in a register in so far as the death of 13 people in the Tuticorin police firing on May 22 and 23.
Last week, a separate petition was filed in the top court by an advocate G S Mani seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the deaths of protesters during the anti-Sterlite rally in Tamil Nadu. The plea has also sought registration of an FIR for the alleged offence of murder against Tuticorin Collector, Superintendent of Police and other police officials.
The petition has termed as inadequate the compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of those killed during the protest. It has sought compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the families of those killed and Rs 25 lakh to those seriously injured in the firing.