gave Supreme Court Allowed on Thursday Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramaniam Swamy To submit a representation to the Government on declaring Ram Sethu as a National Monument – a chain of limestone outcrops on the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu.
The government – represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta – said the decision-making process in this regard is ongoing with the Ministry of Culture and the petitioner can send a representation to the government with additional material.
Swamy told the court that the issue was part of the BJP’s manifesto, which the party was “violating”. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud allowed Swamy to share the material with the ministry and disposed of his plea to declare Ram Sethu as a monument of national importance.
The bench – also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardewal – asked the government to inform Swamy of the decisions taken and allowed him to take legal recourse, including approaching the court again, if the grievances persisted. .
In a hearing last week, the court had given the government till the first week of February to file its reply on Swamy’s petition. Referring to the matter, Swamy said that the promise to file the reply by December last year was not fulfilled.
The court then asked the Solicitor General, “Mr. Solicitor, Mr. Swamy is saying that you have not kept your commitment to file a counter in the Ram Sethu case…” The SG said a reply would be filed soon. .
At the hearing, Swamy submitted that he had ‘won’ the first round of litigation, in which the government accepted Rama Sethu’s existence.
He claimed that the concerned Union Minister had called a meeting in 2017 to consider his demand but nothing happened.
Swamy had raised the issue of Ram Sethu in connection with the controversial Sethusamudram ship channel project – arguing that it would damage the limestone. Protests have also come from Hindu religious parties.
The project was inaugurated in 2005 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
The current government – led by the BJP – has said it has considered the ‘socio-economic losses’ and is ready to find an alternative route.
Under the terms of the project, an 83-km water channel is to be built, which will lead to Munnar Island (off the north-west coast of Sri Lanka) and Palak Strait by extensive dredging and removal of limestone that would affect marine life. can