High Court reserves orders on plea against Sterlite

‘Clearance obtained through misrepresentation’

May 18, 2018 08:53 am | Updated 07:01 pm IST - Madurai

 The petitioner claimed environmental clearance was given without public hearing.

The petitioner claimed environmental clearance was given without public hearing.

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday reserved its orders on a public interest litigation petition filed against SIPCOT and Sterlite Industries for operating without environmental clearance.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Sundar and Anita Sumanth reserved the orders in the case.

The petitioner, R. Fatima of Thoothukudi, said Sterlite Industries obtained environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for a second copper smelter plant in 2009.

It was renewed in 2015 and 2016 by “misrepresenting” the project location as being within a notified industrial complex.

However, SIPCOT Industrial Estate Phase II, where the proposed copper smelter plant was to be commissioned, itself was yet to obtain environmental clearance from the authorities, she said.

The petitioner claimed that environmental clearance was given to the second copper plant without any public hearing, one of the requirements for the grant of clearance.

Time and again the public complained about health hazards that were caused by the operation of the plant, she charged.

Different projects

The petitioner argued that SIPCOT Industrial Estate I and II were different projects and Phase II was not an extension of Phase I. The public hearing was exempted on the ground that the project was an extension. The clearance was obtained through misrepresentation, she said.

She sought an injunction against the commissioning of the second copper plant and quashing of the environment clearance granted by both the Centre and the State for being against the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.

Meanwhile, the hearing on Vedanta’s petition moved in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking a direction to declare a periphery of one km around the Sterlite Industries as a ‘no-protest zone’ was adjourned till May 18 by Justice M.S. Ramesh.

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