Govt silent on Ram Setu plea in SC

The Centre came up with a blank on whether to declare Ram Setu in the Palk Strait a national monument,leaving the Supreme Court with no option but to interpret the government’s silence as its unwillingness to take a position “this way or the other”

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: April 20, 2012 3:19 am

The Centre came up with a blank today on whether to declare Ram Setu in the Palk Strait a national monument,leaving the Supreme Court with no option but to interpret the government’s silence as its unwillingness to take a position “this way or the other”.

In its order,an apex court Bench of Justice H L Dattu and Justice Anil R Dave recorded that the Centre has “no intention” to respond to a petition by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy to declare and protect the ecological phenomenon,known as the Adam’s Bridge in the Palk Strait between southern India and Sri Lanka,as a national monument.

“You (government) will file no affidavit taking a position this way or the other?” the court asked.

Not getting a positive reply from Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal,who represents the government,the Bench proceeded: “In that case,we will say that for the instant,the government is not intending or not willing to file an affidavit stating its position (on the declaration). We will take it on record.”

Raval admitted that he too was in a “dilemma”. “Even this morning I had confirmed with them,asking them ‘Is this what you want me to say?’… I could not get a definite reply,” Raval said.

The Bench,however,assured that it understands that Raval is only acting under instructions from his client.

The law officer had in the previous hearing been ordered to take instructions from the government on Swamy’s plea.

Today’s hearing follows court sessions in March,during which the court had asked the government to unequivocally state whether Ram Setu could be declared a national monument.

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