New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Vedanta to operate its oxygen unit at the Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu on a "standalone" basis. The court added that it has come to this decision keeping the current crisis for medical oxygen in the country.
"The plant shall be operated & only produce oxygen & for no other purpose," clarified Justice DY Chandrachud, while pronouncing the order on Tuesday.
Asking the Tamil Nadu government to form a panel to monitor activities at Vedanta's oxygen plant in Tuticorin, the court explicitly stated that it is not favouring any company.
"Order allowing Vedanta to operate its oxygen plant would not create any equity in favour of the company," the apex court said.
In addition, the top court warned Vedanta not to operate a copper smelting plant under the garb of this order. "There should be no political bickering over the generation of oxygen by Vedanta, it's a national crisis."
Senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for Vedanta, told Justice Chandrachud that the unit can begin producing oxygen in around 10 days.
Earlier, on April 23, the top court had questioned the Tamil Nadu government on why it can't take over Vedanta's Sterlite copper unit at Tuticorin, which is closed since May 2018 over pollution concerns, for producing oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients.