New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday sought time from the Supreme Court till February first week to file its response on a plea by Subramanian Swamy seeking direction to the government to declare `Ram Setu` as a national heritage monument. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha granted time to the government to file a reply to the plea and posted the matter for hearing in the second week of February. Swamy mentioned the matter before the bench saying Solicitor General Tushar Mehta made a commitment that a response will be filed by December 12, 2022, but till now no affidavit has been filed.
The Chief Justice told the SG, who was present in court, “Mr Solicitor, Mr. Swamy is saying you have not kept your commitment to file the counter in the Ram Setu matter.”The Solicitor General replied that the issue is under consideration and discussion is going on. The response will be filed and asked the bench to keep the matter for hearing in February`s first week, he added. Swamy further sought the presence of the cabinet secretary in view of the delay by the government in clarifying its stand but the CJI didn`t accede to the plea. The matter has been adjourned several times since last year.
Swamy had earlier said that the case has been pending for eight years but the government has not been able to respond to it. In his plea, Swamy had urged the apex court to pass an order and direct the “Union of India along with National Monuments Authority (NMA) to declare Ram Setu as an Ancient Monument of National Importance.”He had also urged the top court to pass an order and direct the “Union of India to engage the Geological Survey of India and Archeological Survey of India to conduct a detailed survey with respect to Ram Setu as an Ancient Monument of National Importance.
“Swamy said that he had already won the first round of the litigation in which the Centre accepted the existence of `Ram Setu` and added that the union minister concerned had called a meeting in 2017 to consider his demand to declare the Setu as a national heritage monument but subsequently nothing happened. Ram Setu is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.