Environment

Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (May 26, 2020)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal  

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 26 May 2020
Gavel. Source: Getty images

LG Polymers operating without a valid EC

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on May 22, 2020 directed LG Polymers Pvt Ltd to file report on its net worth according to the “provisions of the Companies Act, but not as per the book value.”

The court sought an explanation as to how LG Polymers had been operating without a valid environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. It asked how the plant was operating without an inhibitor concentration check and a proper refrigeration system.

It said the bystander population was not warned of the risk they were exposed to or trained in evacuation procedures in the event of an accident, according to the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989.

The order came in the wake of public interest litigations filed in the HC against the leakage of poisonous gas from LG Polymers factory at Visakhapatnam.

The court issued some interim directions:

  • The premises of the company shall be completely seized and no one be allowed to enter into them, including the directors of the company
  • None of the assets, movable or immovable, fixture, machinery and contents shall be allowed to be shifted without the leave of the court 
  • In regard to the grievance shown regarding appointment of various Committees by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), central government and state government; the central government and state government are at liberty to apprise as to which committee shall fulfill the purpose to answer all quests in issue

Obstructions near Shakti Sagar lake catchement

The bench comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore of the NGT expressed displeasure at the lack of compliance of its February 28, 2017 order, which included re-filling of pits, removal of anikits and restoration of the land of catchment area of Shakti Sagar lake to its original form.

The matter was related to large-scale illegal mining in villages Surajpura, Gopal Sagar, Kanakheda, Piplaz and Lehri and surrounding area in Ajmer, Rajasthan near the catchment area of Shakti Sagar Lake.

The tribunal noted that failure to take proper steps for compliance of the NGT order meant that the water body of the lake remained barren and there was no water in it.

The court directed the principal secretary, mines, to personally supervise the execution of the order by June 2 and file a report by way of affidavit by Ajmer collector.

It also directed the Ajmer collector to visit the site and take steps to remove all obstructions in the catchment area.

Air transport norms

The Supreme Court (SC) allowed Air India to assign middle seats to passengers on non-scheduled flights till June 6, 2020 in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Air India will operate non-scheduled flights in accordance with the interim order to be passed by the Bombay High Court.

The order came following the court's May 22, 2020 order asking Air India why it was not following social distancing norms and keeping middle seats vacant on flights. 

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