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The central government on Thursday shied from taking any stand on the plea by Janta party president Subramanium Swamy that the mythological Rama Sethu in the Palk Strait be declared a national monument. An Supreme Court bench of Justice H L Dattu and Justice Anil R Dave today recorded that the central government does not intend to file its response to the petition of Swamy.

The court at its last hearing had asked Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal to take instructions from the government on Swamy’s plea that the mythological Rama Sethu, known as the Adam’s Bridge in the Palk Strait between southern India and Sri Lanka, be declared a national monument.

After recording that the central government did not intend to file its response to Swamy’s plea, the court directed the matter be listed for further hearing in the third week of August.

The Supreme Court on March 27 had asked the central government to unequivocally state whether the mythological Rama Sethu could be declared a national monument.

It gave the government a day to address its query, and decided to take up the matter on March 29.

The court also directed the government to place before it the report of the group headed by environmental expert R.K. Pachauri on the feasibility of executing the Sethusamudram project off Dhanushkodi, a town at the southern tip of the Rameswaram island of the Tamil Nadu.

The earlier plans of cutting a shorter sea navigation route through Rama Sethu had run into litigation and controversies involving religious beliefs.

Earlier in 2009, the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) had said that there was inadequate data to come to a definite conclusion if alignment 4A at Dhanushkodi could be used as an alternate route for undertaking the Sethusamudram project.

The court gave the central government six weeks to submit its report.

 

 


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