Earlier the Supreme Court had agreed to permit 30 persons from LG Polymers access to a chemical plant where the Vizag Gas Leak tragedy took place on the 7th of May. Similarly, an appeal was filed by the company before the Supreme Court against the NGT Order which directed for the deposit of 50 crores by the company and the forming a committee to inquire into the tragedy.
Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, UU Lalit, and Vineet Saran comprising the Bench heard the matter and directed the petitioner to provide a list of 30 personnel to be granted access to the plant. The list of these 30 people is to be submitted to the District Collector by 3 pm today.
When questions of law surrounding the jurisdiction and legalities of the National Green Tribunal and the multiplicity of committees on the 19th of May had been raised before the Supreme Court, the apex court has refused to intervene in the matter and therefore directed them to raise their contentions before the NGT instead.
The Bench passed the order stating - “In compliance of 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. “Appearing for the LG Polymers Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi had stated that the issue had gotten more complicated as the High Court had constituted its own committee and therefore sealed the plant.
The order further contended, “Our plant is only open to the High Court. Nobody can go with them or tell them what is happening. Order of sealing had not even been passed and that we were present and it was not spoken of in Court.” The bench acknowledging the issues raised by Rohtagi further stated, “Firstly, how can there be jurisdiction without your participation? Second, there are things lying inside the premises. Third, your participation is important because you know about the materials that are lying inside. We’ll record these observations and send them to the High Court.”
Informing the Bench that he would file a transfer petition before the High Court regarding whether it should be heard by the SC Rohtagi commented, “I want to participate, I am not running away. There can be more problems if we don’t have access, which is impossible right now because the premise is sealed. I need emergency access. I’ll file a transfer petition before the High Court regarding whether it should be heard by the Supreme Court.” The same contention was refuted by the Bench and they did not agree to intervene in the matter by stating that only the High Court or the NGT shall hear the matter.
The order contending and elucidating the same further stated, “Petitioner prayed for emergency access, the toxicity of Polymers was highlighted and there were issues of multiplicity of monitoring committees. We give liberty to the petitioner to place all issues before the High Court. As an interim measure, we permit the petitioner to give a list of 30 personnel who may be granted access to the plant. List of these people shall be given today by 3 pm to the District collector, all issues may be highlighted before the HC expeditiously.” The matter is now listed for the 8th of June.
The National Green Tribunal has constituted a five-member committee to inspect the site and submit a report to it within ten days in a suo moto case registered against the fateful incident of the chemical gas leak at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.