Supreme Court Refuses to Interfere with the Order passed by the NGT in the Vizag Gas Leak Incident

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied interfering with an NGT order. The order directed LG Polymers to deposit Rs. 50 crores for the destruction caused by a gas leak. This gas leak took place in Visakhapatnam on May 7th. Here, around 12 people were killed and many were critically injured.

 Brief Facts of the Case 

LG Polymers filed a plea against the NGT order. The order directed LG polymers to pay Rs. 50 crores. However, the Supreme Court refused to interfere and denied to issue a notice. A bench constituting of Justices U U Lalit, Mohan M Shatanagoudar and Vineet Saran passed the order:-

“In compliance of NGT order appellant has deposited an amount of 50 crores.”

The bench granted liberty to the appellant to raise arguments before NGT by June 1st.

The National Green Tribunal took cognizance against the gas leak episode. Further, Justice A.K.Goel head of NGT bench and also the chairperson gave an order to LG Polymers. The order directed LG Polymers to deposit Rs.50 crores with District Magistrate, Visakhapatnam.

NGT also asked for the formation of a 5 member committee. This committee was

“To visit and inspect the site at the earliest and submit a report before next date.”

LG Polymers filed a Special Leave Petition, challenging the NGT’s order.

Contentions of the Petitioner 

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi represented the Petitioner. He said that Rs.50 crores have been deposited. That “On 7th May, this gas leak occurred. On 8th May, I was directed to deposit 50 crores. I have deposited the same and I am not raising any concerns about that. My problem is that the NGT has constituted the committee. Now there are 7 committees which have been appointed.”

Rohtagi further stated that the LG Polymers Plant was closed. Yet, NGT appointed the committee to visit the plant three times without any advance notice.

Issues 

Rohtagi raised the following issues: 

  • Can NGT order suo moto proceedings? and 
  • Can they create seven committees instead of one committee?

“NGT has no jurisdiction to take suo moto cognizance of the case,” Rohtagi said. And for this, Justice Lalit asked Rohtagi to prove the same. Rohtagi further questioned about the number of committees required. It was also said that “The Court needs to see which authorities have a role to order these committees.” 

Held 

On Rohtagi’s arguments Justice Lalit said, and finally held that the:

“Incident took place on May 7 and Andhra Pradesh High Court passed an order on the same day. Since the High Court first took action, you may stress upon the NGT that a committee has been formed by a court of constitutional authority. NGT was not aware of these developments when it passed its orders on May 8th. Our interference would be unjust and unfair.”


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