NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to make its stand clear on whether the ancient Ram Sethu could be declared as a national monument.
A Bench headed by Justice H L Dattu granted one day’s time to Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval to get instructions from the government on this and posted the matter to Thursday (March 29) for further hearing.
“If you say you don’t want to file a counter affidavit, we can go ahead with the arguments in the case,” Justice Dattu said.
He also directed the government to place the report of the panel constituted by the Prime Minister headed by eminent environmentalist Pachauri on the feasibility of executing the controversial Sethusamudram project through Dhanuskodi, instead of routing it through the Rama Sethu.
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, who is one of the petitioners on the controversial case, told the Bench that there had been an inordinate delay on the part of the government in placing the report and that the government should be directed to place it immediately before the court.
The Bench, in the process, granted six weeks’ time to the government to place the report in the court.
Swamy told the Bench that he questioned the need for the Sethusamudram project.
He reminded the Bench that it was on June 19 that the apex court had passed an order directing the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to file a counter affidavit explaining whether any study had been undertaken by the Archaeological Department or by any other department and whether the said bridge could be regarded as a national monument within the ambit of the 1958 Act.
The Centre was also told to also explain whether the said project could be implemented without affecting the Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu by resorting to some other route.