The Supreme Court on Monday granted six weeks to the Centre to clarify its stand on the mythical Ram Sethu, a chain of limestone shoals between Indian and Sri Lankan coasts. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the Centre to file its reply in six weeks on a plea filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
Also known as the Adam’s bridge, the Ram Sethu is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban or Rameswaram Island off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island on the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.
Swamy said the government had already made its stand clear in Parliament that they are not going to touch the Ram Sethu.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, sought time to file the reply affidavit.
The apex court granted liberty to Swamy to approach the court if the response of the Centre is not filed.
The BJP leader, during earlier hearings, had submitted that the Centre has made a statement on the floor of Parliament that it has no intention whatsoever to tamper with the ‘bridge’.
On November 26, 2015, the apex court had granted four weeks to the Centre to file its response on Swamy’s plea that he wanted to withdraw his 2009 petition against the Sethusamudram project as the government had decided that the mythological bridge would not be dismantled.
Swamy had earlier mentioned the matter for urgent hearing saying his prayer to scrap the project stands satisfied after the Centre took that decision.
The Sethusamudram shipping channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and certain Hindu religious groups.
Under the Sethusamudram project, a 83 km-long deep water channel is to be created, linking Mannar with Palk Strait, by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals.