New Delhi, Jul 23 (UNI) The Union government today denied the existence of Ram Setu, also known as Adam's Bridge, before the Supreme Court.
Senior counsel F S Nariman, appearing for the Union Government while opening the Centre's argument, contended before the court that according to Kamban Ramayana which is in the Tamil language Lord Rama, who had constructed the bridge to reach Sri Lanka to free his wife Sita, had destroyed it while returning.
He also contended before a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices R V Ravindran and J M Panchal that the Union Government is not demolishing any Setu or Bridge as Ram Setu does not exist.
He also contended that it is immaterial whether Ram Setu is man made or a natural formation when it does not exist.
Mr Nariman also pleaded that Ram Setu cannot be declared a monument of national heritage.
The court, however, told the Union Government to do a balancing act between the fate of the people and the biosphere even if a little damage is done to the biosphere.
The judges also advised the Centre not to make an issue or controversy where there is none, as a little diversion can save the faith of the people, which has been granted protection under Article 25 of the Constitution.
The apex court also suggested to the government to consider whether an alternative route can be taken to spare Ram Setu.
Mr Nariman agreed, though reluctantly, to discuss the suggestion of the Supreme Court with the government.
Earlier, senior counsel K K Venugopal, appearing for the petitioner, contended before the court that a place of worship, which millions of Hindus have believed for centuries, was built by Lord Rama cannot be touched as it enjoys the protection of Article 25 of the Constitution.
He also pleaded that the government and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have not carried out any scientific study to ascertain whether Ram Setu is a man-made or natural formation.
Earlier, the Centre in its affidavit, which it had to wihdraw later, had denied the existence of events and charaters of Ramayana, including that of Lord Rama himself.
The arguments will continue tomorrow.
The Union and Tamil Nadu governments are keen to complete the Sethusamudram project at the earliest.
Mr Nariman went to the extent of submitting before the court that 31-km-long Ram Setu is not a place of worship as nobody goes there to worship.
UNI SC PD RN2104