The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea by LG Polymers seeking stay on the order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which formed a five-member committee to assess the damage and conduct a probe into the Vizag gas leak.
LG Polymers argued that as many as seven committees have been formed to look into the May 7 incident. The counsel cited a committee formed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the NGT, and the National Human Rights Commission, to name a few.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing LG Polymers, contended before the court that the company does not intend to stall the proceedings and it has already complied with the direction by depositing the initial amount of Rs 50 crore ordered by the NGT. However, Rohtagi argued as to how many committees should oversee it.
A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, M.M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran noted that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the incident and ordered formation of the committee.
The top court observed that the company may approach the NGT and inform it that a committee has been formed by a court of constitutional authority. The court refused to stay the order on the grounds that the NGT is already seized of the matter.
On the intervening night of May 6-7, styrene gas leaked from a chemical plant of LG Polymers India Private Ltd (LGPI). The leak, which occurred near Visakhapatnam claimed several lives and led to hospitalisation of hundreds of others.
On May 7, the High Court took suo motu cognizance of the incident. On May 8, the NGT also took suo motu cognizance of the incident and directed the company to deposit an initial amount of Rs 50 crore with the District Magistrate, Visakhapatnam.