Supreme Court: In the plea challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court order dated 22.05.2020 which directed the complete seizure of the LG Polymers Plant in Vishakhapatnam in the case relating to the hazardous gas leak which claimed 12 lives and affected hundreds of others on May 7, 2020, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ allowed 30 LG Polymers personnel to access to the plant round the clock to maintain adequate safety measures as an interim measure till the matter is considered by the High Court.
“we permit the petitioner to give a list of 30 personnel as discussed hereinabove. Upon such names being given to the District Collector, those persons shall be afforded access to the plant round the clock to maintain adequate safety measures.”
The said direction of the Court came after Senior Advocate Mukul Rihatgi submitted that a complete seizure or sealing of plant/ premises will have tremendous adverse consequences and impact.
“the temperature of the plant cannot be allowed to go beyond 25° C; and if by any chance because of lack of adequate attention or safety measures, if the temperature goes beyond 25° C situation can have some ill effects.”
Here’s what LG Polymers submitted before the Supreme Court:
- atleast 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.
- at the intermediate stages of manufacture, the Polymers that the petitioner manufactures can have toxic effects and therefore adequate safety measures have to be undertaken every time.
- the premises in question also house the administrative and Law Offices of the Company and in case the entirety of the premises are seized/sealed, the operation of the company will stand seriously prejudiced.
- the products lying for clearance be allowed to be cleared so that there are no adverse financial effects on the Company.
- the inspections to be carried pursuant to the directions issued by the High Court must be in the presence of officials of the Company so that adequate assistance as well as complete knowledge about the processes undertaken by the petitioner could also be highlighted sufficiently.
Finding force in the abovementioned submissions and 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, the Court gave liberty to the petitioner to place all these issues and aspects for consideration by the High Court.
Passing interim order in the matter, the Court clarified,
“This ad interim direction will continue till the High Court considers the matter.”
[LG Polymers India Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Andhra Pradesh, SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) Diary No(s). 11636/2020, order dated 26.05.2020]