New Delhi: In a significant victory for the Tamil Nadu government and anti-Sterlite protesters, the Madras High Court on Tuesday refused to allow the reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi.Also Read - SC refuses to allow Vedanta to reopen Sterlite plant, sets aside NGT order
Also Read - Supreme Court Sets Aside NGT Order Allowing Reopening of Vedanta's Sterlite Plant in Thoothukudi
Notably, this verdict by a two-judge bench of the High Court comes more than a year after the Supreme Court, in February 2019, set aside a December 2018 order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), thus refusing to allow Vedanta to reopen the plant. Also Read - SC refuses reopening of Sterlite plant, grants Vedanta liberty to approach HC
The top court, however, had said that both Vedanta and the Tamil Nadu government were free to approach the Madras High Court over this matter, after which the case was brought before the Madras High Court last June.
Earlier, in its order, the NGT had overturned the Tamil Nadu government’s order to shut the plant.
The Tamil Nadu government had ordered closure of the plant on May 28, 2018, six days after 13 protesters were killed in police firing on May 22, 2018, on what was the 100th day of the anti-Sterlite protests.
In pronouncing its verdict today, the two-judge division bench of the High Court, comprising Justices TS Sivagnananam and Bhuvani Subbaroyan, noted that they would have done so in March itself, but for the coronavirus pandemic.