The Supreme Court upheld the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper Tuticorin plant, dismissing the appeal to reopen it. The court cited repeated violations justifying the closure and emphasized the need for clarity in specifying violations. The plant faced closure in 2018 following protests against pollution, leading to casualties. Vedanta's appeal to reopen was previously allowed under local-level monitoring committee supervision.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Madras High Court's order, dismissed Vedanta 's appeal seeking re-opening of its Sterlite Copper Tuticorin plant. The apex court said that there were repeated violations which justified the closure of the unit. "Keeping in view the repeated nature of breaches, coupled with environmental violations, it is left with no choice to take this view," the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said. "We are conscious of the fact that Vedanta has been contributing to productive assets of the country including giving employment, it has to be mindful of the priniciples of sustainable development polluter pays principle. Health of people is of utmost importance and the State government has to protect them," SC said in its order Hearing the case, the SC on February 21 said that the closure of an industry without specifying the violation in clear terms affects the investment a company makes. On May 22, 2018, at least 13 people were killed, and many others sustained injuries when law enforcement used gunfire to disperse a large gathering protesting against pollution attributed to the copper smelting facility and its planned expansion. Eventually, citing pollution concerns, the Tamil Nadu government and the TNPCB ordered the closure of the mining group Tuticorin plant. In May 2023, the SC directed the Tamil Nadu government to make appropriate decisions in accordance with its April 10 directive, permitting the Vedanta group to manage the maintenance of the unit under the oversight of a monitoring committee at the local level. (You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel) (You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel)