'Government should take a call on designating Ram Setu as heritage monument': Subramanian Swamy tells Supreme Court

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Subramanian Swamy filed two writ petitions before the court. One challenged the Sethu Samudram project of the UPA government and the other sought declaration of Ram Setu as a national heritage monument. The former was disposed of as the Sethu Samudram project was dropped, while the latter is still pending before the court. 

Appearing in a petition seeking directions of the Supreme Court to the Centre to declare Ram Setu as a heritage monument, Dr.Subramanian Swamy asked the court to direct the center to file a counter taking a stand on the issue.

Ram Sethu, also known as Adam's bridge, is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.

Swamy raised the issue of declaration of  Ram Sethu as a national monument in his PIL against the controversial Sethusamudram Ship Channel project. The PIL was initiated before Madras High Court.

The apex court transferred the plea before itself in 2007 and stayed work for the project on the Sethu Samudram project. Subsequently, centre informed the court that owing to the "socio-economic disadvantages" of the project, it was willing to explore another route to the shipping channel project without damaging the Ram Sethu.

Dr.Swamy in his petition has sought the Top Court to pass an order and direct the Union of India to engage the Geological Survey of India and Archeological Survey of India to conduct a detailed survey with respect to Ram Setu as it is an ancient monument of national importance.

On November 13, 2019, the apex court had granted Centre six weeks to clarify its stand on the Ram Sethu. It had also granted Swamy liberty to approach the court if the response of the Centre was not filed.

Today, before a bench of Justices Chandrachud and Bopanna, Swamy argued that the plea is pending since 2007 and the centre has filed a counter affidavit in this regard. When the bench said that it seeks declaration of a monument as National Heritage, Swamy informed the court that the centre must take a stand on the same.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that he will take stock of the situation and ascertain whether a counter must be filed as two or three affidavits have already been filed in the matter. Swamy, however, told the court that the affidavits have been filed in the disposed of matter pertaining to Sethu Samudram and not the current one.

The court, accordingly, adjourned the matter.

Case title: Subramanian Swamy Vs Union of India