SC: scrap the Setu project?

SC: scrap the Setu project?

The answer is yes, given 8000+ pages of evidence in 150+ topics/typesets ready for submission to the Hon’ble Court.


Centre gets 2 weeks to file affidavit on Ramar Sethu

Legal Correspondent

Swamy quotes Tamil Nadu plea in jallikattu case

Centre will file comprehensive reply: Attorney-General

It should contain statement if any probe was held: Swamy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted two weeks to the Centre for filing an affidavit on the ‘Ramar Sethu’ issue. This follows the submission of a report by an expert committee, which considered the feasibility of various alignments for implementation of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel project, to the Union government.

A Bench consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal adjourned the hearing on a batch of petitions filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and others challenging the project, after Attorney-General Milon Banerjee sought two weeks for the government to file a comprehensive reply.

Dr. Swamy said the Madras High Court had, on the transferred petitions, directed the Centre to carry out an investigation whether Ramar Sethu could be declared a national monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.

He said the Centre filed an affidavit in September last but withdrew it following people’s protest (against certain averments) and was yet to file a fresh one.

Dr. Swamy said the Centre, while filing the reply, must say whether any such investigation was carried out.

Religious sentiments

Referring to the submissions made in the court on Tuesday on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government, Dr. Swamy pointed out that Tamil Nadu had said religious sentiments were attached to “jallikattu (taming the bull).” “If the same yardstick was applied, then Ramar Sethu cannot be touched.”

“Biosphere reserve zone”

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal and Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for some of the petitioners, said the entire Gulf of Mannar had been declared a biosphere reserve zone.

If dredging continued, it would result in damage to the biosphere, they said, and sought permission to file additional documents.

Advocate V.P. Sharma, who too filed a petition, said the court had allowed dredging activities without damaging Ramar Sethu.

He urged the court to stop all dredging activities.

Intervening, the Chief Justice said: “Then it is a question whether the entire project itself has to be stopped.”

Dr. Swamy said the entire project had to be stopped and that he would file additional documents in support of this demand.

Sethu affidavit: Govt gets 2 more weeks

Express news service

Posted online: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 2347 hrs IST


Four months after ordering a review of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project in the wake of controversy over Rama Sethu, the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the UPA Government two more weeks to complete the exercise.

Attorney General Milon K Banerji told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan that the Centre needed two weeks to file the affidavit as the committee appointed by it was re-examining the feasibility of the project.

On September 14, 2007, the Bench had granted three months to the Centre to review the Rs 2,087-crore project and continued operation of its August 31 interim order putting on hold the demolition of ‘Rama Sethu’, a mythical bridge situated south-east off Rameswaram, connecting the Talaimanar coast of Sri Lanka. The court in its interim order had allowed the dredging activity for the project to the extent that it did not in anyway damage the ‘Rama Sethu’ or Adams Bridge.

On Wednesday, objecting to another adjournment, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy told the Bench that the Government had already taken four adjournments and not furnished its response. “Whether the orders of this court are complied with and also as directed by the Madras High Court, whether the Rama Sethu is a man-made or not is also not yet ascertained?” he submitted as he pressed for an archaeological survey to be carried out.

“Whether the structure is man-made or natural does not matter but you must conduct investigations to ascertain whether it could be declared as a monument and preserved under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958,” Swamy said.

Responding to him, the A-G clarified, “It is for the court to issue directions and not him. We just want two weeks to file a counter-affidavit.”

Swamy also pointed out how the Tamil Nadu Government only on Tuesday referred to religious sentiments in one case (Jallikattu), while in the case in hand, it had simply chosen to ignore the same. He recalled how the Centre had earlier filed two affidavits, raising doubts about the existence of Lord Rama and the Rama Sethu but withdrew after the people found it unacceptable.

Senior advocates K K Venugopal and Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for other petitioners opposing the project on environmental ground, submitted that since the dredging activity was going on, there was a threat to the destruction of biosphere reserve around the Gulf of Mannar, which had a unique coral life.

Reacting to this submission, the apex court noted the dredging would go on or not was another question. “But if it’s true, the question is whether the project itself has to be scrapped or not.”


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