Sterlite Copper case: Madras HC sets June 27 as final date of hearing

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Chennai | Published: June 21, 2019 2:00:29 AM

The Madras High Court has posted the final hearing on the vexed Sterlite Copper issue to June 27.

This will be the final hearing of all writs/petitions filed before the Court and we also hope that the outcome will be positive for us.

The Madras High Court has posted the final hearing on the vexed Sterlite Copper issue to June 27. A revised petition filed by the company, seeking reopening of the plant, including interim relief to allow itself access to the plant to set things right, clearing remaining debris inside the plant as well to provide proper maintenance — came up for hearing on Thursday before the division bench of Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Bhavani. The fresh relief prayer along with main petition will be heard on the same day, according to sources.

When contacted, a senior official of the company confirmed the developments, and said the High Court has begun hearing of our revised petition and we hope the case will be settled as early as possible. This will be the final hearing of all writs/petitions filed before the Court and we also hope that the outcome will be positive for us.

Earlier on June 11, post summer vacation, when the case came up for hearing before the division bench, one of the judges, KK Sasidharan had recused himself as he had earlier passed an order in a related matter. Hence, the case was then postponed to June 20 (Thursday). On June 11, the division allowed petitioners, who were opposing as well as supporting, to implead themselves in this case.

By February-end, the Vedanta group, based on an advice from Supreme Court, had filed a revised petition before the Madras High Court, seeking permission for itself to access the plant for taking care as well as maintenance to enable it to reopen the plant at the earliest. The Supreme Court, while refusing to entertain Vedanta’s case for providing interim relief, however, asked it to once again approach the Madras High Court with fresh relief proposal. The Madras High Court had spiked the NGT’s December 15 order, allowing Sterlite Copper to open its plant.

The 400,000 tonne per annum Sterlite Copper plant, situated at Tuticorin district in Tamil Nadu, has been closed for more than a year since April 2018 for non-compliance of environmental aspects. The company failed to obtain renewal of ‘Consent to Operate’ from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

Recently, media reports quoted Vedanta’s chairman Anil Agarwal as saying that the company has lost over $200 million due to closure of Sterlite Copper plant for over a year.

According to sources, the plant has some hazardous chemicals inside to be cleared. There have been reports of corrosion of plant and machinery and on a few occasions fire took place. Ever since it was shut down last April, the plant has no power as well as water supply, the sources added.

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