Reopening of Vedanta Tuticorin Copper Plant| Supreme Court says it has to protect people' health

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The hearing will now continue of February 29

The Supreme Court of India has expressed its concerns for the health and welfare of the people while hearing Vedanta's plea for the resumption of operations at its copper smelter facility in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin.

A CJI DY Chandrachud led bench said, "We have to protect the health and welfare of the people. They are voiceless people, and they all cannot come here. We cannot be oblivious to the wider concerns of the community."

The bench also comprising Justices Manoj Misra and JB Pardiwala was told that an expert committee comprising the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute etc could be formed to check if opening the plant was a viable option.

However, Tamil Nadu state government opposed the submission. 

Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan informed the bench that committee after committee had found evidence of pollution.

In 2018, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board ordered the closure of the Sterlite Copper Plant after protests by local residents, who alleged that the facility was causing severe pollution, leading to the spread of diseases.

This decision was later upheld by the Madras High Court in August 2020. Now, Vedanta has challenged the High Court's order in the Supreme Court.

Case Title: Vedanta Limited vs. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.