Google Maps image shows Ram Setu also known as Adam’s Bridge.
The Supreme Court on November 10, 2022 gave the Centre four weeks’ time to file a response clarifying its stand on a plea by former Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy to declare the ‘Ram Setu’ a national heritage monument.
“Why are you dragging your feet?” Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud asked the government side, which sought an adjournment when the case came up for hearing.
Mr. Swamy said the issue was “simple”. “They just have to say whether they want it or not,” he submitted.
The government counsel said the reply was ready but was waiting for approval from the Ministry concerned.
The court gave Mr. Swamy two weeks to file his rejoinder after the Centre filed its reply.
In an earlier hearing, the court had asked whether the declaration of a national heritage monument was not an executive policy.
Ram Setu, also known as Adam’s bridge, is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island or Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Swamy had earlier raised the issue of declaring Ram Setu as a national monument in his PIL against the controversial Sethusamudram Ship Channel project, initiated by the UPA-I government.
The matter had reached the top court, which in 2007 had stayed the work for the project on the Ram Setu.
The Centre had later said that it considered the “socio-economic disadvantages” of the project and was willing to explore another route to the shipping channel project without damaging the Ram Setu.
“That the Government of India intends to explore an alternative to the earlier alignment of Sethusamudram Ship Channel project without affecting/damaging Adam’s Bridge/Ram Setu in the interest of the nation,” an affidavit filed by the government years ago had said.
The Sethusamudram Shipping Channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and certain Hindu religious groups.
Under the project, an 83-km-long deep water channel was to be created, linking Mannar with Palk Strait, by extensive dredging and removal of limestone shoals.

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Printable version | Nov 10, 2022 9:11:52 pm |


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