The Supreme Court on Friday refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea of a BJP leader seeking a direction to the Centre that it should clarify its stand on mythological Ram Sethu. A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi asked BJP leader Subramanium Swamy, who has filed the plea, to come before the court if the Centre “touches” the mythological bridge. “There is no need for urgent hearing. If they do not touch the Ram Sethu, then you need not worry,” the bench said.
Swamy mentioned the matter and sought urgent hearing, saying that the Centre be asked to file its response to the effect that it will not tamper with the bridge. He also said that the Centre had already clarified its stand outside the court that it has no intention whatsoever to tamper with it. “As and when they (the Centre) touch it, you can come to us,” the bench said.
On November 26, last year, the apex court had granted four weeks time to the Centre for filing its response on Swamy’s plea that he wanted to withdraw his 2009 petition against the Sethusamudram project as the government has decided that the mythological bridge Rama Sethu would not be dismantled.
Earlier, Swamy had mentioned the matter for urgent hearing, saying that his prayer to scrap the project stands satisfied after the Centre took a decision.
The Sethusamudram shipping channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and several Hindu religious groups.
The Ram Sethu is a continuous stretch of limestone shoals that runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in South India to Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka. Under the Sethusamudram project, a 83-km-long deep water channel would have been created linking Mannar with Palk Strait by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals which constitute the Sethu.