In a setback to Vedanta, Madras High Court on Tuesday refused to allow the reopening of Sterlite copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi. A division bench of Justices T S Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan pronounced the verdict, seven months after reserving orders in the case. The court dismissed all petitions filed by Vedanta.
The judgment running to 815 pages was prepared amidst the pandemic, should have been pronounced on March 11 but the health crisis delayed the process, said the judges in the VC.
The court upheld the Tamil Nadu government's order of May 2018, directing closure of Vedanta’s Tuticorin Facility. The Judges also refused to order status quo until Vedanta went on appeal to the Supreme Court.
Vedanta Limited had moved the court challenging the state government's closure order against its Sterlite Copper Plant on May 28, 2018. The company had argued that the state government's order to close the plant was in response to protests and not to claims of pollution.
In 2018, the residents and environmental activists of villages around Sterlite had protested against the copper plant and accused its environmental pollution. The Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board had rejected the plant’s application for renewal of Consent to Operate in 2018 on grounds that it had violated environmental laws.