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‘Why should court get into it?’: Supreme Court rejects Hindu Personal Law Board’s request to declare ‘Ram Setu’ as a national monument

"What do you want," he asked. "What can the court do? How can the court direct to construct a wall? These are administrative matters of the government. Why should we get into it," the court said over a petition for declaring Ram Setu a national moment.

The Supreme Court turned down a plea on 3 October for a decree designating the ‘Ram Setu’ as a national monument as defined in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It further sought to authorise the building of a wall in the sea for a few meters or kilometres to manage darshan at the site. The apex court dismissed the request and stated that these are concerns of administrative procedure for the government.

The president of the Hindu organisation, Ashok Pandey, an attorney based in Lucknow, submitted the motion as a writ petition in accordance with Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner asked the panel of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia to combine the matter with one presently pending by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy who proposed national heritage status for the ‘Ram Setu.’ The bench entirely refused to do the aforementioned and added that the lawyer should instead approach the government because this is an administrative affair.

Justice Kaul questioned the necessity of filing yet another suit when Dr Subramanian Swamy’s plea is still pending. “What do you want,” he asked. “What can the court do? How can the court direct to construct a wall? These are administrative matters of the government. Why should we get into it,” the court implored after the lawyer voiced his appeal.

“No, we are not connecting it. We are not inclined to interfere under Article 32 of the Constitution of India to give any directions which the petitioner seeks. Dismissed,” the highest court pronounced when he requested to tag the petition with the aforementioned lawsuit. “No. Suddenly you want to say my name should also be added,” remarked Justice Kaul.

The petition highlighted the historical event and read, “In case this Setu comes in open, it will give way to people across the world to come to Dhanuskoti (Rameshwaram) for the Darshan of the bridge constructed under the orders of Lord Ram. In case it is done, the common man will be able to walk on this bridge for a few meters. It will fulfil the desire of crores of persons like the petitioner to walk, sit and sleep on the bridge through which Ram along with his army went to Lanka to kill Ravan and to establish Ram Rajya in Lanka.”

It further conveyed, “It is indeed good that Sri Nitin Gadkari, the minister given the charge of this department declared in the Parliament that Sri Ram Setu will not be destructed and without destruction of the same, the Setu Samudram Shipping Canal Project (SSSCP) will be completed.”

Dr. Subramanian Swamy brought up the issue of the ‘Ram Setu’ being recognised as a national heritage in his 2007 argument and opposed the Sethu Samundram Ship Channel project. An 83 km long waterway between Mannar and Palk Strait was to be developed as part of the Setu Samundram project by means of substantial dredging. The Ram Setu was reported to be impacted by the project. He has spoken about this issue previously on several occasions.

The Ministry of Culture is currently considering giving ‘Ram Setu’ national heritage status, as the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta had notified the Supreme Court.

Off the southern coast of Tamil Nadu, there is a chain of limestone shoals called ‘Ram Setu’ also known as ‘Adam’s Bridge’. It stretches from Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka to Pamban Island close to Rameshwaram in the southern state. The bridge is mentioned in the Ramayana where it is asserted that Lord Ram who is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu built it in order to travel to Lanka and rescue his wife Goddess Sita from the clutches of powerful Rakshasa king Ravana.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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