New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) The Supreme Court will commence hearing on Wednesday on a plea of the Vedanta group against the closure of its Sterlite copper unit in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra on Tuesday asked the parties to circulate short notes of their respective submissions in the case.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan would open the arguments on behalf of the Vedanta group firm.
Besides the firm, NGO 'Manu Neethi Foundation', through senior advocate Vikas Singh, had also moved the top court for an urgent hearing in the case, saying the workers of the Sterlite copper unit are facing extreme difficulties.
Earlier, the top court had said it had directed the registrar to allocate "two dedicated dates" for hearing the Vedanta group's plea.
The top court had in May last year asked the Tamil Nadu government to take appropriate decisions in pursuance of its April 10 direction by which it had allowed the Vedanta group to carry out the upkeep of its Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin under the supervision of a local-level monitoring committee.
In its April 10, 2023 order, the top court also allowed the evacuation of the remaining gypsum at the plant and made available manpower as requested by the company.
It had noted that the district collector had not recommended activities like undertaking a civil and structural safety integrity assessment study in the plant premises, removal and transportation of spares and equipment and evacuation of in-process reverts and other raw materials lying idle.
"As regards the actions which were not recommended by the district collector, C S Vaidyanathan, senior counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Tamil Nadu states that the state government will once again evaluate whether any further or supplementary directions should be issued in that regard," the top court had noted in its April 10 order.
During the earlier hearing, the counsel for Tamil Nadu had said steps have already been taken to implement the directions contained in one of the paragraphs of the April 10 order.
It had stated that "as regards those actions which have been permitted to be carried out by the communication dated March 6, 2023, we allow necessary consequential steps to be taken".
"We direct that all decisions which are required to be taken in pursuance of the observations contained in paragraphs four and five of the order dated April 10, 2023, shall be taken by the state of Tamil Nadu on or before June 1, 2023," the bench had said.
At least 13 people were killed and many injured on May 22, 2018, when police opened fire on a huge crowd of people protesting against pollution allegedly caused by the copper smelting unit.
The Tamil Nadu government had on May 28, 2018, ordered the state pollution control board to seal and "permanently" close the mining group's plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.
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