A.P. gas leak: Supreme Court declines to interfere with NGT order

Supreme Court of India.

Supreme Court of India.

It asks LG Polymers to move tribunal

The Supreme Court did not interfere on Tuesday with an order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which ordered LG Polymers to pay ₹50 crore as interim compensation for the gas leak at its Visakhapatnam plant and set up a five-member fact-finding committee to inquire into the incident leading to the death of several innocents.

Also read: Vizag gas leak: An avoidable tragedy

Fact-finding committee

A three-judge Bench, led by Justice U.U. Lalit, did not budge despite LG Polymers, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, highlighting that multiple committees had been formed by several bodies, including the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the National Human Rights Commission and the Centre, into the gas leak which happened on May 7.

The company also questioned how the NGT could take suo motu cognisance of the gas leak and form a fact-finding committee led by former High Court judge, Justice B. Seshasayana Reddy, when the High Court, a constitutional court, was already seized of the matter. Mr. Rohatgi said the company did not intend to create any deliberate roadblocks and had already deposited ₹50 crore with the district magistrate as ordered by the tribunal.

June 1 hearing

The Supreme Court merely told the company to raise these questions when the case came up for hearing on June 1. It kept the company’s petition pending for consideration on June 8.

The NGT, on May 8, had appointed a committee to “specifically report on the sequence of events, causes of failure and persons and authorities responsible, extent of damage to life, human and non-human, public health and environment — including water, soil and air, steps to be taken for compensation of victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment and the cost involved”.

The NGT had also on May 8 issued formal notice to the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, the Central Pollution Control Board and the Union Environment Ministry, seeking their responses.

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