SC agrees to hear plea seeking to declare ‘Ram Sethu’ a national heritage monument

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will be included to hear the appeal of BJP leader Subramanian Swami seeking direction to the center to declare Ram Sethu a national heritage monument.

A judicial panel composed of Chief Justice N.F. Ramana and Judges Krishna Murari and Hema Kohli, who agreed to include the petition for hearing on July 26, said they could not do so because one of the judges of the respective court had some health issues.

“We will include it,” CJI told Swami.

Swami mentioned the urgent listing issue on July 13 and several times in the past as well.

Ram Sethu, also known as Adam’s Bridge, is a shoals of limestone water between Pampan Island, off the southeast coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the northwest coast of Sri Lanka.

The BJP leader said he had already won the first round of the lawsuit in which the center approved the presence of Ram Sethu.

He said the relevant union minister called a meeting in 2017 to consider his request but nothing happened after that.

The BJP leader has raised the issue of declaring Ram Sithu a national monument in his Political Isolation Act against the controversial Sethusamudram Ship Canal project, initiated by the UPA-I government.

The matter reached the Supreme Court, which in 2007 remained working on the project on Ram Sethu.

The center later said that it considered the project’s “social and economic flaws” and was willing to explore another route for the shipping canal project without harming the Ram Sithu ship.

“The Government of India intends to explore an alternative to the previous alignment of the Skeleton Ship Canal Project without affecting/damaging the Adam/Ram Sethu Bridge for the benefit of the nation,” affidavit
It has been submitted by the Ministry she said.

The court then asked the government to provide a new affidavit.

The Sethusamudram shipping canal project has faced protests from some political parties, environmentalists and some Hindu religious groups. Under the project, an 83 km long aqueduct was to be constructed, connecting Mannar to the Palk Strait, by extensive dredging and removing limestone shoals.

On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court gave the center six weeks to clarify its position on Ram Sethu. Swami was also given the freedom to go to court if the center’s response was not submitted.

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