SC lists plea of Sterlite copper unit of Tamil Nadu for hearing on November 29

The Supreme Court has listed the Vedanta group’s plea related to the closure of its Sterlite copper unit in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin for hearing on November 29.

According to an update on the apex court’s website, the plea of the Vedanta group firm will be heard on November 29.

On October 9, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud had assured the firm’s counsel that it had directed the registrar to allocate “two dedicated dates” for hearing the Vedanta group’s plea.

“I am well aware of the situation. I have already directed the registrar to allocate two dedicated dates (for hearing),” the CJI had said.

The top court had, in May, asked the Tamil Nadu government to take appropriate decisions in pursuance of its April 10 direction by which it had allowed the Vedanta group to carry out the upkeep of its Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin under the supervision of a local-level monitoring committee.

In its April 10 order, the top court had also allowed the evacuation of the remaining gypsum at the plant and making available the required manpower as requested by the company.

It had noted that the district collector had not recommended activities, such as undertaking a civil and structural safety integrity assessment study on the plant premises, removal and transportation of spares and equipment and evacuation of in-process reverts and other raw materials lying idle.

“As regards the actions which were not recommended by the district collector, C S Vaidyanathan, senior counsel appearing on behalf of the state of Tamil Nadu, states that the state government will once again evaluate whether any further or supplementary directions should be issued in that regard,” the top court had noted in its April 10 order.

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During the earlier hearing, the counsel for Tamil Nadu had said steps were already taken for implementing the directions contained in one of the paragraphs of the April 10 order, which stated that “as regards those actions which have been permitted to be carried out by the communication dated March 6, 2023, we allow necessary consequential steps to be taken”.

“We direct that all decisions, which are required to be taken in pursuance of the observations contained in paragraphs four and five of the order dated April 10, 2023, shall be taken by the state of Tamil Nadu on or before June 1, 2023,” the bench had said.

The apex court had then listed the plea for final disposal on August 22 and 23.

At least 13 people were killed and many injured on May 22, 2018, when police opened fire on a huge crowd of people protesting against environmental pollution allegedly caused by the copper-smelting unit.

The Tamil Nadu government had, on May 28, 2018, ordered the state pollution control board to seal and “permanently” close the mining group’s plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.

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