Rama Setu: SC notice to Centre


Full text of the Law of the Sea Convention 1982 and Annexes in hypertext format can be read at http://tinyurl.com/2f8nd9 

Article 196 of the UN Law of the Sea state:

“Use of technologies or introduction of alien or new species

“1. States shall take all measures necessary to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment resulting from the use of technologies under their jurisdiction or control, or the intentional or accidental introduction of species, alien or new, to a particular part of the marine environment, which may cause significant and harmful changes thereto…”


Supreme Court notice to Centre

J. Venkatesan  (The Hindu, August 11, 2007)

On PIL plea challenging Sethu project

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the Sethusamudram project and for a direction to preserve Ram Sethu as an ancient monument.

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran issued notice after hearing senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the petitioner. Counsel brought to the notice of the court how the environmental issues had been violated in executing the project.

He said the Ministry of Earth Sciences, in its response, had furnished material “which is stated to have been sent by it to the Office of the President of India regarding the project in question; this material, including a report by the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, indicates that the Ram Sethu is a man made structure, dating back to antiquity. This being so, the Ram Sethu deserves to be declared as an ‘ancient monument’ under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904; and to be preserved and protected in accordance with the said Act.”

Mr. Venugopal said as on August 7, the project had encroached 20.08 per cent of the Adams Bridge called Ram Sethu and there was a possibility of the bridge being damaged in the dredging operations. He pleaded for maintenance of status quo as otherwise the petition would become infructuous.

Additional Solicitor-General, R. Mohan, strongly opposed passing of ‘status quo’ order as the project would come to a standstill. He said that the apex court had already rejected stay of the project in five petitions and no stay should be granted in this petition also. The Bench while issuing notice asked the Centre to file its response in three weeks and posted all the petitions for hearing together on August 31.

The petitioners Dandi Swami Vidyananda Bharati-ji of Secunderabad and Deeksha Mishra of Gwalior said that the petition raised serious issues pertaining to the implementation of the Sethusamudram project, viz preservation/protection of the Ramar Sethu as an ‘ancient monument’ under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904; introduction of alien species into the Gulf of Mannar, in contravention of Article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992, as well as Article 196 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


SC refuses interim directions on construction of Sethusamudram

10 August 2007
The Supreme Court has refused to issue any interim directions to the government to stop construction of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran, however, directed the Union Government to file its response to the petition filed by Dandi Swami Sri Vidyananda Bhartiji seeking directions to the government not to demolish the mythical Adam bridge, also known as Ram Setu.

Counsel for petitioner K K Venugopal told the Court that the government was fighting shy of filing a counter affidavit as assured in the Madras High Court that Ram Setu would not be disturbed and no further construction will be taken up.

The statement was strongly refuted by Additional Solicitor General R Mohan who contended that no such assurance was given to the Court and also refused to give any similar assurance to the apex court.

The court tagged the petition along with other petitions already pending before it, over the issue seeking directions to the Archological Survey of India(ASI) to declare Ram Setu as a heritage site. Some of the petitioners are also opposing the removal of Ram Setu on the grounds that it will hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.

According to the petitioner, 20.84 per cent of the bridge has already been encroached upon and Sethusamudram project will also damage the environment of the area.

Indlaw Communications Pvt. Limited. (ICPL).


Samiti to protest against Setusamudram project
Friday August 10 2007 11:27 IST

BANGALORE: Sri Rameshwaram Sri Ramasethu Rakshana Samiti, on Wednesday announced that it will s?tage a protest against the ‘Setusamudran Canal Project’.
Kalyana Ram, a historian said, ‘‘The ‘Setusamudran Canal project’ has been taken up not to facilitate better shipping but due to vested interests of the authorities. The Sethusamudram Canal Project besides being historical and of cultural value, is also a rich source of minerals.’’

The Samiti announced that they would carry out a Upavasa Vrata’ on August 12 in the city as well as at the district centres in the state. A state wide ‘Rameshwaram chalo yatra’ has been arranged on the August 26, when lakhs of devotees will assemble at Rameshwaram in protest to stop the Sethusamudram Canal Project.



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