SC adjourns hearing on Ram Setu by a day

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New Delhi, Apr 30 (UNI) The Supreme Court will hear tomorrow a batch of petitions seeking declarations from the apex court that the Ram Setu also known as Adam Bridge is a monument of national heritage and therefore cannot be demolished.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal fixed the matter for final disposal tomorrow when counsels for the petitioner and former Union Minister for Law Subramaniam Swamy pleaded for adjournment on the grounds that they were under the impression the matter was already listed for the hearing tomorrow.

Senior counsel F S Nariman appearing for Sethusamudram Corporation pleaded for vacation of the interim stay, granted by the apex court on August 31 last year directing the authorities not to damage Ram Setu in any manner while carrying out dredging activities for completion of the project.

Senior counsel K K Venugopal appearing for one of the petitioners, however, prayed for referring the matter to a five-judge constitution bench on the grounds that important and substantial questions of law as well as the issue of faith of 80-million people of this country was involved.

Another counsel M N Krishnamani contended that the project had been under consideration for more than 150 years and the urgency shown by Mr Nariman was beyond his comprehension.

The bench, however, made it clear that the petitions could not be decided in a day as demanded by Mr Nariman.

Dr Swamy had filed another application seeking to implead Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T R Baalu alleging that as he and his family members had huge pecuniary interest in the project as the company, M/S Meenam Fisheries Public Limited whose vessels were being used in the project, was owned and controlled by Mr Baalu's two sons and one of his wives.

One son is the chairman of the company. According to Mr Swamy, K Kanimozhi daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi also has interest in the project. She is a member of the Rajya Sabha.

UNI SC SW RK1225

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