SHIMLA: A division bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court today dismissed both review petitions of Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL) that had been filed for allowing the civil structure built for establishing a thermal plant for other purposes and reconsidering the Rs 100 crore damages imposed for setting up a cement plant in violation of green laws.
The bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol recorded that since review sought was of the same judgment and issues involved were identical, both the review petitions were being disposed by a common order.
Before dismissing the petitions the judges observed that the review petitions were “only an attempt to re-open the matter and there is no error apparent on the face of the record.”
Petitioners cannot be permitted to now raise issued which were either not raised or rake up matters which have been decided by a reasoned judgment.
Turning down the petitioners argument about the captive thermal power plant, the judges pointed out that at the time of arguments it was stated that it had not been made functional but was never urged that it had not been set up.
Construction of the thermal plant was taken up even before obtaining consent to establish was obtained from the authorities and construction was completed despite withdrawing of the consent, the order pointed out.
With the petitioners mentioning that 87 trailers were used to transport the material for the thermal plant, the judges observed, “therefore, we cannot believe that the plant had not been set up.”
Contesting the Rs 100 Cr damages imposed on setting up the cement plant in violation of green laws and in response to the petitioners contention that the punitive damages were imposed without actually assessing the costs as per the polluter pays principal, the judges observed that because the bench felt it would not be proper to order dismantling of the cement plant as it would affect livelihoods, all factors had been considered before imposing the damages.
“There is no error apparent on the face of record,” the order categorically stated.
Finding no merit in the two review petitions the judges decreed “We after imposing Rs 100 crores of damages have held that Rs 10 crores should be diverted for the benefit of the villagers.”