The United States Supreme Court has approved to take up the appeal made by Indian fishermen and villagers over a dispute related to a power plant in Gujarat that is funded by an American company. The court will soon begin hearings to the petition that alleges that the plant owners have failed to stop environmental damage that the solar plant is causing.
Back in 2008, the International Finance Corp (IFC) which is a part of the World Bank Group, decided to provide $450 million in loans to help construct the coal-fired Tata Mundra Power Plant in Gujarat, India. While granting the loan, the IFC outlines some predefined requirements to ensure that international environmental standards are met by the power plant. However, a group of villagers and fishermen from Gujarat led by Budha Ismail Jam sued the IFC in Washington federal court in 2015 that the institution has failed to meet its environmental obligations that were set out prior to granting loan and that the plant is fatally affecting the marine life in the region.
The problem is that the IFC, which is part of an organisation with 184 member countries that helps secure financing for projects in developing nations is immune to lawsuits under federal law. A petition was signed by the same group of Indian farmers and fishermen questioning whether the IFC would enjoy immunity under the 1945 International Organisations Immunity Act or there will be exclusions in a case that involves environmental safety. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up an appeal by Indian villagers against the power plant that is causing environmental pollution.
During the hearings, the American Supreme Court would decide whether the IFC enjoyed immunity under the 1945 International Organisations Immunity Act. The petitioners have expressed that the Tata Mundra Power Plant has failed to comply with international environmental standards and has resulted in devastation of local environment. This will be the final decision at the US apex court, after the petition was heard in district court in 2016 and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2017 – it is to see what the American apex court decides.