New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on Sterlite Industries, part of Vedanta Resources, for polluting environment through its copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu. However, the apex court refused to direct closure of the plant in Tuticorin.
The company has to pay the compensation amount in five years, the SC ruled. The court added that the compensation must act as a deterrent and any fine less than Rs 100 crore would not have had the desired impact.
The Madras High Court had ordered to close down the company's Tuticorin copper-smelting plant for violating environmental norms.
Sterlite had moved the apex court against the order of the high court which had on September 28, 2010, ordered shutting down of the smelting plant for allegedly failing to comply with environmental norms. The company, in its special leave petition against the order, had claimed that the high court did not give it a proper hearing and had ignored its submissions.
The apex court had on October 1, 2010, in an interim direction, stayed the operation of the Madras High Court order directing closure of the industry. TNPCB's March 30 order came a week after an unspecified gas had allegedly leaked from the plant on March 23.
The gas leak had caused mild suffocation, sore throat and eye irritation to several people in the area. Thereafter, on instructions of the District Collector of Tuticorin, TNPCB had issued a direction to the Vedanta group company to close down the plant. Sterlite had yesterday moved the National Green Tribunal challenging the TNPCB directive.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)