Companies & Sectors
Supreme Court asks Sterlite Industries to pay Rs100 crore fine for pollution

Just last week, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board ordered closure of Sterlite’s copper smelting plant at Tuticorin over alleged noxious gas leak. The apex court, however, refused to direct closure of the smelting unit and fined it Rs100 crore for polluting the environment

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked UK-based Vedanta Group’s unit Sterlite Industries to pay Rs100 crore as compensation for polluting environment through its copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu. The apex court, however, refused to direct closure of the smelting plant.
Last week, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) ordered closure of Sterlite’s copper smelter unit in Tuticorin following alleged noxious gas leak. The leak triggered protests with hundreds of people, including MDMK leader Vaiko and CPI leader Nallakkanu, being arrested on 28th March when they led a march to the unit demanding its closure.
In its order on Tuesday, the Supreme Court bench headed by justice AK Patnaik said that the environment has been polluted for a long time due to the discharge from the plant of the multinational company and it has to pay compensation.
Imposing the compensation on the company, the bench said, “Amount less than Rs100 crore would not have the desired impact and the compensation ‘must act as deterrent’.” 
The amount of compensation should be decided based on financial strength of the company, the bench noted. It, however, refused to direct closure of the plant, setting aside the Madras High Court's 2010 order on closing it down.
On Tuesday, Sterlite shares closed 3.8% up at Rs93.10 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex ended at 19,041.



Vinay Joshi

4 years ago

Still it's problems are not over. It has to battle the TN pollution control norms, which may be a hurdle.


Ambani brothers join hands for RJio’s 4G launch

Anil Ambani’s RCom owns a country-wide fibre optic network originally built by Mukesh Ambani, which would prove to be crucial for the upcoming 4G network of the elder sibling

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) has signed a definitive agreement by paying Rs1,200 crore as a fee to Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications (RCom) for using its inter-city fibre optic network. The irony is, the senior sibling built the fibre optic network when Reliance was a single entity, and now he has to pay fee for using the same network because he has the license but no infrastructure for 4G. On the other hand, the younger brother has infrastructure, but no license for 4G.


As per the agreement, RJio would use RCom's multiple fibre pairs spread over 1.2 lakh km across the country for providing backbone to roll out its 4G services. “RCom will in turn have reciprocal access to optic fibre infrastructure to be built by RJio in the future,” RCom said in a release. RJio would pay about Rs1,200 crore to RCom as one time indefeasible right to use (IRU) fees for sharing the fibre optic network.


Telecom has always been a sector close to the heart of the Reliance Industries’ (RIL) chairman and managing director, Mukesh Ambani, who is known for his quick execution of mega projects, launched his ‘dream’ mobile services in 2003-04 with a slogan “Kar Lo Duniya Muththi Mein” (take control of the world). However, he had to give up Reliance Infocomm (which later became RCom) to Anil Ambani in 2005 when the Reliance empire was split.


Later in 2010, Mukesh Ambani-led RIL re-entered the telecom arena with a bang, announcing the acquisition of Infotel Broadband Services Pvt Ltd, which had emerged as the sole winner of pan-India broadband spectrum, for Rs4,800 crore.


Coming back to RCom, the company is striving hard to reduce the debt level in its books and has maintained its stance of selling stake in its tower assets, which might help in deleveraging the balance sheet and reducing debt. According to reports, RCom has debt of over Rs37,000 crore.


Last month, the Anil Ambani group company made yet another attempt to reduce its debt. In a regulatory filing, RCom, said it was in talks with Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) to sell stake in Reliance Globalcom, its enterprise business unit.


In 2012, RCom had also withdrawn its $1-billion initial public offering (IPO) plans for its submarine cable unit Flag Telecom, citing unfavourable market conditions.


Last year in June, Canadian research firm Veritas, in a report alleged that RCom was entering a phase of maximum uncertainty. The report further stated that fractured policy-making, high inflation, an uncontrollable fiscal deficit and the highly competitive telecommunications sector, were all working against RCom.



Suiketu Shah

4 years ago

The Ambani brothers are outstandingly remarkable.Doubt in my lifetime we wl see someone even close to them.Once their respective sons join their business in a few yrs,their companies shd be the greatest and richest in the world and no one wl be close.



Vinay Joshi

In Reply to Suiketu Shah 4 years ago

You will not know when the bubble will burst.


RTI Judgement Series: When a PIO claimed that the file was stolen or lost

The CIC directed the PIO to file a police complaint and give a copy of the complaint and certificate from the additional commissioner certifying that this file with the demand draft has been stolen or lost. This is the 68th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) and executive engineer of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide information, including copy of police complaint, statements and certificate from the additional commissioner (engineering) about the stolen or lost file.


While giving this important judgement on 6 October 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The PIO will give the information consisting of the police complaint, statement of JE/AE and a certificate from the additional commissioner (engineering) as described above to the appellant and the Commission before 25 October 2009.”


New Delhi resident Satya Prakash Bagaria, on 20 December 2008, sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the executive engineer of MCD. He sought information about his payment of security amount for laying telecom ducts, which was given to his company by Tata Teleservices. Here is the information she sought and the reply provided by the PIO...


A. Reason for non-refund of security deposit.

PIO's Reply: The question was in the form of query.


B. Reason for harassment of the appellant.    

PIO's Reply: As above.


C. Details of proposed actions which was to be taken by MCD against its errant officials with date.

PIO's Reply: As above.


D. Request to fix date and time to refund the security amount with interest thereon from the date of request for refund of the same was made.

PIO's Reply: The appellant is requested to contact the office any working day between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm to sort out the issue. The office address for the had been given i.e O/o Ex. Engineer (M)-I, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Arjun Marg, Defence Colony, New Delhi - 110024.


E. Name and designation posts of all the MCD employees who were responsible and accountable in the matter of the refund of the security deposit.       

PIO's Reply: The refund of bank guarantee deposited was dealt by the concerned JE/AE of the area.


Bagaria citing non-receipt of complete information from the PIO, then filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), in his order, directed the PIO to give information related with query no D within one month.


Despite directions from the FAA, Bagaria claimed that the PIO provided evasive and misleading information. He then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During a hearing before the Commission, the PIO stated that the file relating to this matter had been stolen or lost and hence he was unable to give any information.


Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that Bagaria had given a demand draft of Rs98,175 to MCD, out of which Rs46,750 was given as refundable security deposit. Bagaria was not refunded the deposit and therefore sought information regarding it through the RTI.


The PIO claimed that the entire file and the draft of Rs98,175 appeared to have been stolen/ lost and therefore MCD was not refunding Rs46,750 to the appellant (Bagaria).


Mr Gandhi then directed the PIO to file a police complaint for theft/loss of the said file with the demand draft mentioning the names of the officers who handled the file before 20 October 2009. “The PIO will also obtain a certificate from additional commissioner (engineering) certifying that this file with the draft has been stolen/lost. The PIO will also obtain a statement about this from the JE/AE. The PIO will also certify that the draft has not been enchased by the MCD,” the CIC said.


There was one more complaint registered before the Commission which was related to the same matter. Bagaria filed his second appeal on 13 August 2009.


The Commission noted that the receipt for the RTI fees was made in the name of Shyam Bhatnagar and the PIO sent a reply by speed post on 27 January 2009. In view of this no penal proceeding were initiated, the CIC said.


While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, directed the PIO to give information consisting of the police complaint, statement of JE/AE and a certificate from the additional commissioner (engineering) to Bagaria before 25 October 2009.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001979/5031

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001979


Appellant                                            : Satya Prakash Bagaria

                                                            New Delhi - 110019


Respondent                                        : SC Yadav

                                                            APIO & Executive Engineer

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            O/o the Executive Engineer (M)-I

                                                            Central Zone, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi




4 years ago

One PIO answered to a RTI query - 'NOT AVAILABLE" (without providing the details why it was not available)

1. Can his reply be construed as " REFUSED".
2 Can a PIO reply to a RTI application - "NOT AVAILBE" without providing the details why it was not available.

Kindly give me a reply

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