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These interim directions would continue till the High Court considers the matter and passes directions on the matter.
A three judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice UU Lalit has allowed 30 staff members of LG Polymers to be given “emergency access” to the Vishakhapatnam gas leak plant “round the clock” to undertake “safety measures”. (LG Polymer Order - Round the clock access)
This interim order was passed after LG Polymers filed a petition challenging the May 22 Order passed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Amaravathi. The High Court had ordered that the premises of the Company (LG polymers) "shall be completely seized” and that no access would be allowed for anyone including the Directors of the Company.
The three judge bench of Justices Lalit, Mohan Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran has in the interim also directed for these 30 names to be given to the District Collector.
The Court has further directed that the interim directions would continue till the High Court considers the matter and passes directions.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi along with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas Managing Partner Pallavi Shroff and Partner Anuj Berry, appearing for LG Polymers argued that a complete seizure or sealing of plant/premises “will have tremendous adverse consequences and impact”.
“Temperature of the plant cannot be allowed to go beyond 25oC; and if by any chance because of lack of adequate attention or safety measures, if the temperature goes beyond 25o C situation can have some ill effects. At least 28 technical personnel and two administrative officials/incharge must be given emergency access to the plant/premises at any given point of time so that adequate safety measures are undertaken round the clock,” Rohatgi had argued.
Further arguments on the operation of the company being seriously prejudiced due to the High Court order were also made.
The Supreme Court in its order has noted that “there is force in submissions made by LG Polymer” and that issues need to be placed before the High Court.
“Though, prima facie, we see force in the submissions, considering the fact that the compliance report was directed to be filed by 26.5.2020 and the matters may be taken up on 27.5.2020 & 28.5.2020, we give liberty to the petitioner to place all these issues and aspects for consideration by the High Court,” reads the Supreme Court order.
The matter will be next heard on June 8.
This is not the first plea by LG Polymers in the Supreme Court. Earlier, LG Polymer had challenged the jurisdiction of NGT in the case and how so many committees were being formed to oversee the gas leak incident.
The Supreme Court had then ordered LG Polymers to make these submissions before NGT on May 30, when the case was listed to be heard.
Read the Order here.