SC to Jayalalithaa: Approach ASI to declare Rama Setu a national monument


Heritage Monuments are divided into two categories: Cultural Properties and Natural Properties (both under International Conventions and under the categorization of National Monuments in India)

Biosphere Reserves are natural properties.

Biosphere Reserve under IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas

The Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve was established by the Government of India and the State of Tamil Nadu in 1989 and was the first marine protected area to be declared in South and South East Asia…The IUCN commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, with the assistance of UNEP, UNESCO and WWF, identified the Reserve as being an area of “particular concern” given its diversity and special multiple-use management status. The Reserve is among six areas chosen on the basis of its threatened status and richness in biological wealth and it is included in the action programme to save India’s protected areas for future generations.

World Heritage monuments: 22 cultural properties and 5 natural properties in India(Map )

The number of recorded sites on the World Heritage now stands at 812 which include both cultural and natural wonders, and endowment that is shared by all mankind and the protection of which is the concern of the entire mankind. These include 628 cultural, 160 natural and 24 mixed properties in 137 state parties. India is an active member State on the World Heritage from 1977 and has been working in close co-operation with other International agencies like ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and ICCROM (International Centre for the study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property).There are 27 World Heritage Properties in India out of which 22 are Cultural Properties and 5 are Natural Properties.

The natural properties are:

Chamoli: Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers national parks

Bharatpur: Keoladeo National Park

Manas: Manas Wild Life Sanctuary

Kaziranga: Kaziranga National Park

Sunderbans: Sunderbans National Park

Underwater Cultural Heritage

Underwater Archaeology Wing of the Archaeological Survey of India was established in 2001.

India has 7,516 km long coastline, 1197 islands and 155,889 sq. km of territorial waters and 2,013,410 sq. km exclusive economic zone. The vast water area of the country is rich in underwater cultural heritage. The importance of underwater archaeology was realized as early as in the VI five-year plan…

Adoption of “Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO in 2001 displays the global concern about the protection and management of underwater cultural heritage. UAW has initiated steps for the protection and preservation of the underwater cultural heritage…Dr. Alok Tripathi Superintending Archaeologist
Underwater Archaeology Wing Archaeological Survey of India

Many monuments have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, including underwater cultural heritage sites, for example:

Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection in Panama Tubbataha Reef

Marine Park in the Philippines
Kvarken Archipelago / High Coast in Sweden/Finland
Giant’s causeway and Causeway coast in UK
Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System in Belize
Mont St. Michel and its bay in France
Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Matobo Hills in ZimbabweUS court backs Indian tribe (Navajo) to prevent desiccation of a sacred mountain in USA

Dr. S. R. Rao, a pioneer in Marine Archaeology in India has written to the Govt. of India recommending that Rama Setu be declared an Underwater Cultural Heritage Monument and that ASI should undertake further exploration work.

SC to Jayalalithaa: Approach ASI to declare Rama Setu a national monument

It is surprising that SC should ask Jayalalithaa to approach ASI. If ASI is not listening to Madras HC orders, shouldn’t the SC get concerned about it?

SC should have noted that Madras HC Bench including CJ had on 19 June 2007 observed as follows:

Ancient monument


It would mean to be any monument which is very old having historic past or record. It can also be a stone, a post, a river etc. Thus in RAM SARUP VS STATE OF HARYANA (AIR 1993 PUNJAB AND HARYANA 204) a Division Bench of Punjab & Haryana HighCourt held that the ‘Brahm Sarovar’ is a very old historic place and it would clearly come both within the expression of ancient and historical monument, as defined in the 1958 Act…Court order: The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Union of India is directed to file a counter affidavit explaining whether any study has been undertaken by the archaeological or any other concerned department in respect of Adams Bridge/Rama Sethu and whether the said bridge can be regarded as a national monument within the meaning of the 1958 Act. (In a 11-page judgement, Madras HC summarized the evidence submitted on Rama Setu).

SC clubs Jayalalitha plea on Ram Setu

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalitha’s plea to declare the Ram Setu, a chain of 48 km long limestone shoals located off the Tamil Nadu coast, as a national monument.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan told the AIADMK supremo to “approach the appropriate authority” – the Archaeological Survey of India – for the purpose.
“You are asking for a structure to be declared as a national monument which nobody has seen and which is under water,” the bench, which also included Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R.V. Raveendran, told senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Jayalalitha.
The Ram Setu that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu with Mannar in Sri Lanka’s northwest, is also known as Adam’s Bridge. Many Hindus hold belief that it was the bridge Lord Ram’s army built to cross over to Lanka to rescue his wife, Sita.
The bridge faces some damage due to the dredging for the ambitious Setu Samudram canal project to create a navigable waterway between India’s southern tip and Sri Lanka.
The apex court also expressed exasperation over the mushrooming growth of litigants approaching it over the Ram Setu and the damage it faces due to the canal work.
“How many cases will be filed against this project?” the bench asked.
As the court appeared inclined to dismiss the plea, Venugopal sought its permission to amend his demands in the petition and press only for seeking a direction to build the canal without damaging the Ram Setu.
The bench tagged the petition for hearing along with other petitions, including one by former union minister Subramaniam Swamy and Chennai-based Hindu Munnani president Rama Gopalan.
Source: IANS

Jayalalithaa should approach competent authority on Ram Sethu: Supreme Court

January 28th, 2008 – 5:42 pm

New Delhi , Jan 28 (ANI): The Supreme Court has asked former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to approach competent authorities for declaring the Ram Sethu a monument of national heritage.

Jayalalithaa, in her petition, had sought the courts direction to authorities to take alternative routes for completing the project without demolishing the Ram Sethu.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R V Raveendran said it was not the job of this court to decide about the status of a monument.

Hindu groups have called on the government to stop the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, saying it will demolish the mythical bridge linking India and Sri Lanka , believed to have been built by King Ram of Ayodhya.

Opposing the 560 million dollars project, the Hindu groups claim it would destroy the 48- kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka .

The Sethusamudram Project will dredge a channel along a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka , reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.

According to the Central Government, the sand shoals were created by sedimentation.

Dredging for the project began in 2005 and the channel — 12 metres deep, 300 metres wide and almost 90 km long — will provide a crucial link between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar . (ANI)

SC asks Jayalalithaa to approach Centre on Ram Setu issue

Zeenews Bureau
New Delhi, Jan 28: The Supreme Court on Monday tagged the petition filed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Ram Setu issue along with other petitions. Jayalalithaa had filed the petition in the SC, seeking directions to the authorities to take an alternative route to complete the Setusamudram Project so that Ram Setu is not damaged.
The apex court also directed the AIADMK supremo to approach the UPA government at the Centre in connection with her demand to declare Ram Setu, which is also known as Adam’s Bridge, a monument of national heritage.
Jayalalithaa has contended that the expert committee had suggested six alternative routes for completing the bridge linking coasts of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka for saving navigation time of ships.

Centre committed to Setu project, says Baalu

Monday, January 28, 2008 12:23 [IST]

Tiruchirapalli: Union Minister of Shipping, Road and Transport T R Baalu said the Centre was committed to complete the ongoing Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP), despite opposition to it.

Unveiling the portrait of Dhanapakkiam, mother of DMK Rajya Sabha member Tiruchi N Siva, here last night, Mr Baalu said some communal forces were attempting to stall the prestigious project, but the people should defeat their nefarious designs and ensure the completion of SSCP.

Source : UNI

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SC takes exception to petition by Jayalalithaa on Rama Setu

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday took strong exception to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s petition against the Centre going ahead with the Sethusamudram project by destroying the ‘Rama Setu’.

The Court, while clubbing her petition for hearing with others on the issue, was anguished that cases were filed opposing the project, three years after it was cleared in 2005.

“Nobody had ever seen the structure. Nobody had ever thought of declaring it as a national monument. It (petition) is comining from her (Jayalalithaa) is surprising,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.

The Court’s remarks were in response to one of the prayers in Jayalalithaa’s petition that the ‘Ram Setu’ or ‘Adams Bridge’, a barrier situated south-east of Rameshwaram connecting Talaimanar coast of Sri Lanka, be declared as a national monument.

“Several matters are pending in this court on it (Rama Setu),” the Bench, also comprising Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R V Raveendran, said and added that for declaring ‘Rama Setu’ as a national monument the former Chief Minister can approach the appropriate authority.

Following the court’s observations, senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the AIADMK Chief, preferred to withdraw the prayer.

The Court said Jayalalithaa’s petition can be heard along with other pending petitions.

At the outset when Venugopal submitted that the aspect of national security was also involved in the matter, the Bench said “how many petitions can be filed on one subject”.

The senior advocate said Jayalalithaa has approached the court in the capacity of representative of the people.

Reminding that the project was cleared in March 2005, the Bench observed that “a public figure files petition after three years”.


One Response to “SC to Jayalalithaa: Approach ASI to declare Rama Setu a national monument”

  1. Reasons for deeming Rama Setu as World Heritage Monument « Hindu traditions Says:

    […]… […]

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