Sunday, June 4, 2023

National heritage status for Ram Setu: Supreme Court directs Centre to file affidavit by February first week

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The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Union of India to file its affidavit on a petition seeking national heritage status for Ram Setu by the first week of February.

The matter was mentioned by petitioner-in-person and Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Subramanian Swamy before the Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha.

The CJI was heading a Constitution Bench today and the Ram Setu matter (also listed before the Division Bench led by the CJI) was not to be heard.

Swamy told the Apex Court that the Central government had earlier committed to submit a counter by December 12, but it was yet to file the same.

The petitioner then requested the Court to summon the Union Cabinet Secretary as the matter was related to the Cabinet. Appearing for the Union government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time till February first week, stating that the matter was under consideration.

The Apex Court then granted time till February first week to the Central government and fixed the matter for hearing in the second week of February.

Swamy had filed a petition in 2007 against the Sethu Samundram Ship Channel, alleging that the project, which aimed at linking Mannar Island and Palk Strait through an 83-km-long channel, was likely to impact the Ram Setu bridge, as the process involved extensive dredging.

Ram Setu is a bridge made of a chain of limestone shoals, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. It runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in South India to Mannar Island, off the northern coast of Sri Lanka.

As per epic Ramayana, Lord Ram constructed Ram Setu to reach Sri Lanka, in order to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of Demon King Ravan.

(Case Title: Dr. Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India And Ors)

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