Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Hindalco challenges MSPCB order to shut mine

The court on 29 November stayed the pollution control board's order until 11 December, the next date of the hearing.

Mumbai: Hindalco Industries Ltd, the flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, has moved the Bombay high court against a Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) order asking it to shut down its bauxite mine at Dhangarwadi in Kolhapur district for alleged violation of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.

The court on 29 November stayed the pollution control board’s order until 11 December, the next date of the hearing. “We are inclined to grant ad interim relief to the petitioner as the petitioner’s unit at Dhangarwadi is directed to be closed with immediate effect," said the division bench of the Bombay high court, comprising chief justice N.H. Patil and justice M.S. Karnik.

On 27 November, the MSPCB had ordered immediate closure of the bauxite unit , besides instructing state departments to disconnect water and electricity supply to the unit. The firm argued that the MSPCB had passed the order without giving the company any chance to present its view and, hence, it was in violation of natural justice.

The counsel for Hindalco argued that the company had not even received a show cause notice issued by the regulator on 16 November. Also, he added that there is a remedy for appeal to the National Green Tribunal against any order passed under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. However, such a remedy is not available to challenge such order under the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 and hence the company has approached the high court.

During the course of the arguments, the court also granted time to the pollution control authority’s lawyer to file a reply.

Typically, Hindalco can file an appeal on the closure order before the National Green Tribunal. However, an order under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 prevents such appeal, the company told the court.

Bauxite is used as raw material for manufacturing aluminium. With a consolidated turnover of $18 billion, in addition to Kolhapur mine, Hindalco also operates in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha in India.

An email query to Hindalco as well as MSPCB remained unanswered till the time of filing the report. Also, when contacted, Ashish Prasad, partner litigation at law firm ELP, who is advising the company in the case, refused to divulge any details since the matter is subjudice.

Close