The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday restrained the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests from granting environmental clearance to a proposed distillery at Vadaseri in Orathanadu taluk of Thanjavur district.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice K.B.K. Vasuki, granted the interim injunction on a public interest litigation petition filed by the Vadaseri Grama Vivasayigal Sangam, a farmers' association, alleging largescale irregularities in establishing the distillery. The Judges also ordered notices to former Union Minister T.R. Baalu whose son supposedly owned Kings India Chemicals Corporation, which had planned to establish the distillery, and other official respondents returnable after June 9.

According to the petitioner association, the Vadaseri Panchayat had passed a resolution in favour of the distillery during a meeting held on July 13, 2009. Subsequently, the panchayat vice-president and seven other members submitted a petition to the Collector on September 25 last and sought to take necessary action to cancel the resolution. No constructive action was taken on the representation.