The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the National Green Tribunal’s order to reopen Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi, the Hindustan Times reported. In its petition, the state government argued that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The green tribunal had last month set aside the state government’s order to shut down the plant and described the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led government’s order as “unjustifiable”. It had directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to issue a fresh order of renewal of consent for the smelter within three weeks. The state government had then said it would challenge the order in the Supreme Court.

However, the Madras High Court on December 21 had restrained Vedanta from reopening the plant after protests by activists and local groups. The Madurai branch of the High Court had said that the status quo would remain in effect until January 21.

At least 13 people protesting against the expansion of the copper smelter were killed on May 22 and May 23 last year. Several people were also arrested for rioting, burning vehicles in the premises of the collectorate, pelting stones and damaging public property. This had prompted the state government to permanently shut down the plant days later.