New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday February 23 agreed to hear a plea by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the Centre to declare Ram Setu as a national heritage monument.
Mentioning the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, Swamy sought listing of his petition as it has been pending for long. The bridge has religious significance, as it is believed to be built by Lord Ram, mentioned in the ‘Ramayana’, he said.
The plea sought a direction to the Central government and the National Monument Authority to declare ‘Ram Setu’ as a monument of national importance. Ram Setu, which is also known as Adam’s Bridge, is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island or Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.
After hearing Swamy’s brief submissions, the bench listed his plea for hearing on March 9, and also sought the response from the Central government in the matter. Swamy contended that the Central government had already filed affidavits in the matter earlier.
He contended that the government has already accepted the existence of ‘Ram Setu’ and in 2017, a meeting was also convened to examine his demand, but things have not moved after that.
In April last year, a bench headed by the then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had directed that the plea seeking National Heritage Status for Ram Setu be listed before the next Chief Justice Ramana.
The UPA government, in 2007, had proposed a Sethusamudram project. Under this project an 83-km-long deep-water channel was to be made by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals, to link Mannar with Palk Strait. Swamy moved against this decision in the court and the government resorted to another plan to link Mannar with Palk Strait.