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Sterlite case: SC ‘can’t be swayed by emotions`

Sterlite Industries had moved the apex court against the order of the high court which had on September 28, 2010, ordered shutting down of the smelting plant.



New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it cannot be swayed by emotions or public protests in directing closure of polluting industries but have to go strictly by law in deciding demands for closing down Sterlite Industries in Tamil Nadu`s Tuticorin district.

A bench of justices AK Patnaik and HL Gokhale wondered whether courts can intervene and direct closure even after the authorities like the pollution control board had granted the clearance.

"When a clearance has been given to an industry by the authorities, can the court go beyond the scope of clearance to direct closure of the company?”

"We are not concerned with emotions. We can`t decide on emotions. We don`t go by emotions or public protests. We have to decide only on the basis of law," the bench told MDMK leader Vaiko Gopalswamy and others seeking closure of the industry.

Sterlite Industries, a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta Group, had moved the apex court against the order of the high court which had on September 28, 2010, ordered shutting down of the smelting plant for reportedly failing to comply with environmental norms.

The SC bench made the observations after Vaiko recalled the huge public protests over the functioning of the industry and claimed its continuance would adversely affect human and cattle population.

The apex court said issues relating to closure of industries for non-conformity to environmental and other norms have to be decided on the basis of law, particularly after a plant has commenced its operations.

PTI

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