The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to issue notice on a plea filed by LG Polymers against the order passed by NGT which directed the South Korean company to pay 50 crores and constituted a fact-finding committee to look into the Vizag Gas leakage tragedy, that claimed 11 lives and left many others grievously injured, earlier this month.
The bench comprising of Justices U U Lalit, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran asked the company (LG Polymers) to raise questions regarding jurisdiction of the NGT before the Tribunal itself.
“In compliance with the NGT Order, the Appellant has deposited an amount of Rs. 50 crores. Questions raised by the Appellant are purely legal in nature. We give liberty to the Appellant to raise the appropriate concerns before the NGT before the next date, which is 1st June,” stated the bench.
Earlier on 8th May, the National Green Tribunal bench headed by Chairperson Justice A K Goel had taken suo moto cognizance against the chemical gas leak incident at LG Polymers in Vizag and directed the company to deposit a sum of Rs. 50 crores with the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam.
Further, the NGT also directed for the constitution of a 5-member committee, headed by Justice B. Seshasayana Reddy, former Judge of Andhra Pradesh and instructed the Committee ‘to visit and inspect the site at the earliest and give its report before the next date’.
Subsequently, the LG Polymer had questioned these directions before the Supreme Court, the setting up of several committees by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the National Human Rights Commission, and the Central government to look into the matter.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi informed the Apex Court that they have deposited the amount of 50 crores as ordered by the NGT, but the question is of Committee constituted by the NGT. Our plant is closed and committee constituted by NGT visited the plant three times without any prior notice, he contended.
“On 7th May, this gas leak occurred. On 8th May, I was directed to deposit Rs. 50 crores. I have deposited the same and I am not raising any concerns regarding that. My immediate problem is that the NGT has constituted a Committee. Now, there are 7 Committees which have been appointed,” he said
When Advocate Rohtagi asked as to whether NGT can order Suo Motu proceeding, when it does not have jurisdiction, to which the bench replied, “Since the matter is seized with the NGT, we grant liberty to the petitioner to raise arguments before NGT when it is listed on June 1.”
The court further stated that notice would not be issued at this stage and the matter would be kept pending.