SC grants time to Centre on Ram Setu status

New Delhi: The Centre was today granted more time by the Supreme Court to decide whether the mythological Ram Setu could be declared a national monument. Appearing before a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Haren Raval submitted that consultation was needed on the issue with the competent authority and sought more time to file an affidavit on it.

"Take a decision whether or not to", the bench said, while granting the government two weeks time to take a decision. The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on April 19. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking the court`s direction to declare Ram Setu a national monument.

Earlier, the bench had on March 27 directed the government to file an affidavit regarding its decision within two days. "If you say you don`t want to file counter affidavit, we can go ahead with the arguments in the case," the bench had said.

The case relating to Ram Setu came under judicial scrutiny after a batch of petitions were filed in the apex court challenging the ambitious Sethusamudram project, which was alleged to cause damage to the mythological bridge.

Sethusamudram project is aimed at constructing a shorter navigational route around India`s southern tip by breaching the mythological Ram Setu, said to have been built by Lord Rama`s army of monkeys and bears to the demon king Ravana`s kingdom Lanka. As per the Sethusamudram project, the shipping channel is proposed to be 30 metres wide, 12 metres deep and 167 kms long.