HC asks TN govt to take policy decision on Sterlite

HC asks TN govt to take policy decision on Sterlite

The Madras High Court on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over the recent Tamil Nadu Government Order for shutting down the Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin and suggested that a proper G.O. be issued after taking a policy decision.

A bench of Justices C T Selvam and A M Basheer Ahamed made the observation while hearing a batch of petitions against the Sterlite plant.

Government advocate Sella Pandian submitted that G.O. had been issued to close down the Sterlite Copper factory. The government had also disconnected water supply while the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) had withdrawn the consent given for the expansion of the unit.

Intervening, the bench said, "We are not satisfied with the government order to close the Sterlite unit. The government should take a policy decision and issue a proper order to close the unit."

Tuticorin district officials had on May 28 sealed the copper smelter unit of Sterlite, which had been facing protests from locals for allegedly causing pollution, after the state government issued the G.O.

The government had ordered the TNPCB to seal and "permanently" close the copper plant after 13 people were killed in alleged police firing during violent protests on May 22 and 23.

The court also expressed surprise over the Rs. 20 lakh compensation announced by the government to kin of those killed in police firing.

"Is the worth of human life is just Rs.20 lakh. Even the Supreme Court had imposed a fine of Rs.100 crore on the Sterlite unit, which means that they are causing pollution that seriously affected the environment," the bench said.

It was apparently referring to a 2013 order of the apex court, imposing the hefty fine.

The bench then adjourned the hearing of the petitions, including one by MDMK leader Vaiko, till June 22.