The Madras High Court has dismissed writ petitions filed by tanneries in the Vellore district challenging the order to pay Rs26.82 crore due to the environmental pollution. The 325 skin and hide tanners filed petitions challenging the apportionment of the compensation ordered initially on March 7, 2001 (see Leather International, June 2001).

Justice P Shanmugam said in his order that it was not for the court to reappraise the award of compensation by the Loss of Ecology (Prevention and Payment of Compensation) Authority. The authority had considered the written as well as oral representation made by the Association of the Hides and Skin Tanners and Merchants. ‘Hence, I do not find any illegality or arbitrariness to interfere with the said finding’, he observed.

The Loss of Ecology Authority announced on April 12, 2001, that the compensation would be spread equally among the 325 tanneries. The Skin and Hide Tanners and Merchants Association challenged the award and filed writ petitions on October 12, 2001.