The Supreme Court has agreed to permit 30 persons from LG Polymers access to the chemical plant where the Vizag Gas Leak Tragedy had taken place on May 7, which left multiple people dead and injured.
An appeal had been filed by the company in Vizag gas leak case before the Supreme Court against the NGT Order wherein the company was directed to deposit 50 crores and which formed a Committee to inquire into the tragedy.
The matter was heard bybench comprising of Justices UU Lalit, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran who directed the Petitioner to provide a list of 30 personnel who may be granted access to the plant. The list has to be submitted to the District Collector by 3pm today.
On May 19 when questions surrounding the jurisdiction and legalities of National Green Tribunal, and multiplicity of committees, had been raised before the Supreme Court in relation to vizag gas leak case, the Apex Court refused to intervene in the matter and directed them to raise the contentions before the NGT instead.
The following Order had been passed in Vizag gas leak case :
“In compliance of the NGT Order, Appellant has deposited an amount of Rs. 50 crores. Questions raised by the Appellant are purely legal in nature. We give liberty to Appellant to raise the appropriate concerns before the NGT before the next date, which is June 1st.”
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi in vizag gas leak case, appearing for LG Polymers, stated that the issue had gotten more complicated as the High Court had constituted its own Committee and sealed the plant.
“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! We were present and it was not spoken of in Court.”
Acknowledging the issues raised by Rohatgi the bench 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”.
Informed the Bench about filing a transfer petition before the High Court Rohatgi said,
“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”.
Refused to intervene in the matter while stating that only the High Court or the NGT shall hear the matter the court held,
“Petitioner prayed for emergency access, 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 3pm to the District Collector. All issues may be highlighted before the HC expeditiously.
The matter will now be heard on 8th June.
In a suo moto case against the fateful incident of chemical gas leak at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal has constituted a five-member Committee to inspect the site and submit a reportwithin ten days.
A bench comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson; Justice Sheo Kumar Singh, Judicial Member and Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member have also in the interregnum directed LG Polymers India Pvt. Ltd., owner of the plant to deposit a sum of Rs. 50 Crore, with the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam.