Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SC on April 30, 2008: how Nariman tried to get the stay vacated

Court hearing today in Sethu case
J. Venkatesan (The Hindu, April 30, 2008)
The Centre is pleading for vacating the stay on dredging
Swamy has filed two petitions — one to implead Baalu and another to invalidate the project
Matter affects the faith of 800 million people; hence disallow project, says K.K. Venugopal
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned to Thursday hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the Sethusamudram Channel Project on the ground that implementing the project further would damage the Ramar Sethu/Adam’s bridge.
Acting on an application from Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, the court on August 31, 2007 passed an interim order restraining the Centre from causing any damage to the Ramar Sethu.
A three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice J.M. Panchal agreed to hear the petitions on Thursday after Dr. Swamy and counsel for other petitioners submitted that though the matter had been listed for hearing on Wednesday, there was some confusion as the order passed on April 28 mistakenly showed that the matter would be heard on May 1.
Allow project: Nariman
Appearing for the Centre, senior counsel Fali Nariman and Additional Solicitor General R. Mohan submitted that the application seeking a direction to vacate the interim order could be taken up first. Mr. Nariman said that the August 31, 2007 order should be modified and the project be allowed to go on.
Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal pointed out that the petitions had been listed for final disposal and hence the entire matter should be taken up for hearing. This was a matter of such importance that it should be heard by a five-judge Constitution Bench. He said: “This is a matter which affects 800 million people’s faith. People believe that the Ramar Sethu is something which is built by gods. If the project is allowed to be continued and the Ramar Sethu is destroyed, the petitions would become infructuous.”
Dr. Swamy submitted that the Centre had admitted that the Ramar Sethu was a place of worship and it was going to construct a gallery to enable people to offer worship. He said he had filed two applications, one to implead Union Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu and another seeking a direction to invalidate the project and these should be heard. The CJI said it would be listed for Thursday.
Why the hurry?
Senior counsel Soli Sorabjee, Rajeev Dhavan, M.N. Krishnamani and C.S. Vaidyanathan joined Mr. Venugopal and said the structure should not be allowed to be destroyed. If the government had waited for over 150 years to implement the project, there was no great urgency in taking up the project.

SC to hear arguments on Sethusamudram project
New Delhi (PTI): The Centre's anxiety to push through the controversial Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project was apparently visible on Wednesday when it urged the Supreme Court to hear its plea for vacating the interim order on "Rama Setu" within a restricted time-frame.
"The arguments on vacating the interim order should be completed within a restricted time-frame," said senior advocate Fali S Nariman, who has been roped in by the Centre to argue its case.
However, Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy and others opposing the project contested the Centre's plea saying that it cannot be heard within a restricted time-limit of one or two days as the issue involved was of national importance and linked to religious faith of 800 million people.
The matter which was fixed for arguments on Wednesday could not be proceeded with and was posted for hearing on Thursday as lawyers appearing in the case brought to the notice of the court that there was some confusion as the order mistakenly showed that the matter will be heard on May one.
At the outset, Nariman expressed the urgency for hearing the Centre's application seeking vacation and modification of the August 31, 2001 interim order which had allowed the dredging activity for the project to continue to the extent that it did not in anyway cause any damage to the "Rama Setu."
The interim order was continued when on September 14, the Centre promised to review the project after withdrawing its two controversial affidavits questioning the existence of Lord Rama and a man-made bridge "Ram Setu" or Adams Bridge.

Rama Setu: national unity, worship; SC mixes up dates

Hearing on Swamy petition against Baalu deferred to Thursday

The Supreme Court Wednesday deferred the hearing on a petition by former minister Subramanian Swamy alleging that Transport Minister T.R. Baalu is trying to hurry up the implementation of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) to further his family's business interests.

From correspondents in Delhi, India, 30 Apr 2008 12:30 PM - (
The Supreme Court Wednesday deferred the hearing on a petition by former minister Subramanian Swamy alleging that Transport Minister T.R. Baalu is trying to hurry up the implementation of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) to further his family's business interests.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan deferred the hearing on the petition by the president of the now defunct Janata Party owing to confusion among various counsels over the date of hearing of the matter.

In an application filed Tuesday, Swamy had alleged that Baalu's family members had business interests in both fishing and shipping sectors, and the building of a shorter sea route around India's southern peninsula would greatly benefit them.

Swamy made the allegation in an application that also sought the court's direction to make Baalu a party to the petition against the implementation of the SSCP project and allow him to have his say during the hearing of the petition.

SC adjourns Sethusamudram hearing
NDTV Correspondent
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 (New Delhi)

The hearing on the controversial Sethusamudram project has been adjourned in the Supreme Court for Thursday.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan agreed to hear the matter on Thursday after Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy and lawyers for other petitioners brought to its notice that there was some confusion as the order mistakenly showed that the matter would be heard on May 1.

The apex court had earlier stayed the project, which involves dredging a shipping channel between India and Sri Lanka over objections that it would affect the Ram Sethu.

Subramaniam Swamy had filed a petition alleging that Shipping Minister T R Baalu has vested interest in the project as his family companies are involved in it.

Swamy wants TR Baalu be made as a party to the case and the project scrapped. (With PTI inputs)

New Delhi, Apr 30 (ANI): The Supreme Court will hear a petition against the controversial Sethusamudram project today.

On April 15, the apex court had fixed April 30 as the next date for the hearing of the petition.

Earlier, the Centre had filed a fresh affidavit in the apex court on the project seeking vacation of its interim orders putting on hold any damage to “Ram Setu.”

The 60-page affidavit, cleared by the Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs (CCPA) chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, said the government respects all religions but was of view that it should not be called upon to respond to issues of faith, except in recognizing their existence.

The amended affidavit assumes significance as it has been filed after the Centre in September last withdrew its two affidavits in which it had questioned the existence of Lord Ram and “Ram Setu”.

Following an outcry led by the Sangh Parivar over the controversial affidavit, the apex court on September 14, 2007 had allowed the Centre re-examine entire materials afresh to review the Rs 2,087 crore project.

However, it had continued the operation of its August 31 interim order restraining any damage to “Rama Setu” or Adams Bridge, a mythical bridge situated south-east off Rameshwaram, connecting the Talaimanar coast of Sri Lanka.

The court in its interim order had allowed the dredging activity for the project to the extent that it did not in anyway damage the “Rama Setu” or Adams Bridge.
While withdrawing the affidavits, the Centre had said, “it has total respect for all religions, and Hinduism in particular, in the context of the present case. The Central government is alive and conscious of the religious sensibilities, including the unique, ancient and holy text of Ramayana”. (ANI)

May 04, 2008
Swamy's book on Ram Sethu released
Abandon Ram Sethu project—Mohan Bhagwat
Ram Sethu linked to sentiments of crores; it needs no logic

—Swami Dayanand Saraswati
"The issue of Ram Sethu is not negotiable. Ram Sethu is natural. All natural things should be preserved. Therefore, Ram Sethu should be preserved as a natural monument. Certain things are natural, and we revere them, so such natural things can be worshipped also. If it is man-made, it ought to be preserved. If it is natural, even then it ought to be preserved, but the issue of Ram Sethu is not negotiable,” said Swami Dayanand Saraswati while releasing a book—Ram Setu, Symbol of National Unity—authored by Dr Subramanian Swamy, at a function held in Delhi on April 20, 2008.

“The Ram Sethu is not just some place; it is a place that is highly praised in so many words in our Puranas; it is in the hearts of all Hindus. Any destruction to the sacred Sethu would hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus. Any sentiment is sacred. No sentiment needs any logic, and sentiment is above all. Therefore, we don’t need to give any reason for our attitude, that has been inherited since generations,” Swamiji asserted. He asked what logic one should give to prove that India is our Mother. What logic one should give to establish that river Ganga is not just a river but holy river. What logic one should present that Amarnath Cave has a natural Lingam, it is not man-made. Likewise, Salegrams in Hindu houses are natural. One can buy a ring, but one can buy a wedding ring with an extra cost. The ring does not mention as ‘wedding ring’, but it is the way we look at the wedding ring. We have an inner feeling for the wedding ring, which is priceless. The whole thing is a matter of understanding, Swamiji said.

“It is very easy to destroy a certain object, but it is very difficult to create this. You cannot infuse the feeling of oneness into the people. It takes ages. We owe to our forefathers, our all ancestors, for all our attitudes and the way we think. And they instilled this attitude in us. What denies us to step on a book or currency? Because these are the symbols of Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. Even if a book of Indian history is written with all bluffs from cover to cover, even then we cannot step on it. Why? Because we respect it because it is a book”, Swamiji explained. “One friend told me that he doesn’t care for Indian history books because they do not carry true facts. I said they carry truth. He asked Swamiji what truth? I said that the truth is that it has no truth. But it is a book. The book is Saraswati for us, the Hindus”, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Mohan Bhagwat said that we have followed the path of Sri Ram to live an ideal life. Sri Ram liberated the whole humankind from the clutches of demonic Ravana.

Talking about the book on Ram Sethu by Dr Subramanian Swamy, Shri Bhagwat said that Shri Swamy immersed himself in the Ram Sethu Movement and after a thorough research, he put together all the vital information about the Sethu in this book. The book is not merely an intellectual exercise but he has also written the book keeping in view the aspirations of common Indians. He emphasised that this book should be widely publicised and translated in all Indian languages.

Rapping the UPA government for expediting the SSCP under the pressure of USA, VHP president Shri Ashok Singhal said that today India is faced with threats from all sides. What happened in Tibet is no secret. Every effort is being made to destroy their culture despite the repeated statements by HH Dalai Lama for a peaceful dialogue to resolve the issue. With the capture of power in Nepal by Maoists, India in the coming days might face grave threats. Talking about one such threat, Shri Singhal said that about six years back Maoists dictated that Sanskrit will not be taught in any school.

He exhorted the people that the struggle has to go on and particularly during the election time. People say politicians remember Ram only when there is election. Since politicians only understand the language of votes, then it is the power of ballot that would make them respect the sentiments of Hindus, he added.

Dr Subramanian Swamy, the author of the book Ram Setu: Symbol of National Unity, said that he has given scientific verifiable evidence to back the widely held belief that the Ram Sethu is a constructed causeway, made on the direction of Bhagwan Sri Ram to enable his army to cross over to Sri Lanka. The author’s study of Ram Sethu covers all the aspects of historicity, economics, environment and national security.

Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Sharda Peetham, Sringeri, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Swarupananda Saraswati of Dwarka Peeth, Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati of Govardhan Peeth, Puri, and Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchipuram had sent their blessings to the author on the occasion.

—By Deepak Kumar Rath

Difficult Questions to Judges of the Supreme Court


On 12.2.1948 Mahatma Gandhi's asti was immersed in Danushkodi .If Sethu is not a sacred place why should it be immersed here? If the stay is vacated the SSCP will use RDX to blast away a portion of Ram Sethu.The Ram Sethu must be saved at all costs.Ram Sethu for us is sacred .There is famous saying " Mannum Sethu". The earth taken from Sethu maddhi is very important, where ashes of the dead are immersed.

Ashes of famous political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Lal Bahadur Satri, Indira Gandhi,Sanjay Gandhi, were immersed here. Many Presidents like VV Giri and Judges also had their last rites done and their ashes immersed in Sethu Teertham Former President APJ Abdul Kalam's family took pilgrims by boats from Danushkodi to perform the immersions and the last rituals. (See: Introduction to Wings of Fire by the author)

This place is so hallowed that one offers sraddham and pindam for not only to one's ancestors even for one's friends and unknown strangers, hence four balls of rice(pindam) are offered here,instead of the three rice balls offered in other places.Sethu maddhi is the place in the seventh island where according to sankhya karma, maha prayaschittam is done over three days.There are 108 teerthas in the island.Two have been destroyed by the government.It is holy place for Hindu,Muslim and Christian Fishermen.

Fishermen have been performing a ritual called "neeratudhal" in the centre of the sea. The boats are taken inside the sea and made to face the ramanatha swamy temple and garlands are ofered to the boat, coconuts broken and campour lit.

Revenue Records on Raman Theedai

According to SLR (Survey Land Registration) NO 1251,Danushkodi,Patta dated 30.9.97 Danushkodi comprises an area of 5236.51.5 hectares.Raman Thittai has 12 hectares and 91 cents, equivalent to 39 acres.Before 1964 cyclone local fishermen took permission to go to Rama's island and stayed there for days togeather and did fishing.Customs and excise department know the history of the Raman Theedai.

EV Ramaswamy Naicker Parents came to Danushkodi and performed Sethu Snanam.Even Late Congress President Sitaram kesari's parents also performed Tirtha yatra to Danushkodi.

Raman Theedai (seventh island) is exactly the place which is going to be dredged. Before 1964 cyclone chatrams and temples were in Danushkoddi where sadhus lived there.

Infront of the sacred Kodanda Rama swamy temple there is two headed muniswarar temple. The wind direction changes every six months. before fishermen go for fishing they offer to the diety and before crossing over the Sethu Bridge, which is called "Neeratudhal". All fishermen including christians perform that ritual.

After the cyclone Danushkodi was abandoned.Now the population of Danushkodi is 2000, if proper trasport facilities are made, then it will increase to at least 6000.The Goverfnment have not only abandoned Danushkodi, but also demolished an Iron bridge {that was from the British period} that connected Rameswaram to Danushkodi.

One illangai muni a contractor from Pondicherry did the demolition work during the time of MP Rajeswaran (some 15 years ago).They have not done any alternative construction. The place is is now isolated and cut off.
Systematic efforts to pushing Danushkodi out of people's memory has been underway.

There has been an effort to relegate the history of Daanushkodi to back yards and disconnect it from public memory as the following acts indicate.

In the 1947 kumbabhishekam Invitation printed by the Ramanathaswamy Devasthanam, Ramasethu, and Sethu Puranam were prominently quoted .Even in the letter that accompanied the invitation solicting donations mention the above mentioned facts.

In 1975 also the same was repeated. Since 1967, when the DMK came to power the invitation for the first time in 2001 the invitation did not carry the Sethu Mahatmiyam and any mention of Rama Sethu.This is systematic distortion to make people forget Rama Sethu.

Now the guides are showing only the delapidated railway station and a damaged church as remnant of danushkodi which is far from truth.After Rama sethu issue became famous people started coming by asking for Danushkodi. Now 10 FOUR WHEEL DRIVEN VEHICLES ARE PLYING EVERY DAY. THREE OF THEM BELONG TO MEMBERS OF LOCAL DMK- THE PARTY THAT WANTS TO DESTROY RAM SETHU.

Rameswaram and Ramnad people do not use bulls to till their land. They also do not use machines to extarct oil from seeds. this shows the reverence they have for land. Kalanginathar , one of the 18 siddhas went to China from here.His samadhi is in the sea shore. Matsyendranath is also interred in jeeva samadhi. Maharishi Patanjali's Samadhi is inside the Sanctum the Ramanatha swamy temple.Panchamugha anchaneya temple is in Arichal Munai. The first theedai is called Arichal Munai.

Using fiberglass boats by Rameswaram fishermen has been banned by the government. This is sheer discrimination. While all other fishermen from Kanyakumari and Tuticorin are allowed to come here in the fiber glass boats and do the fishing. The international territory extends upto 200 KMs. But Indian fishermen are allowed to go upto eight KM only. These are remnants of colonial policies that our Govt is following, and this is discrimination.

Before the 1964 cyclone, there was a railway track going right upto Danushkodi, which was destroyed in the cyclone. The place has been abandoned since though it has been a place of pilgrimage and people do go there.Earth acquires importance in this Stalam.For from here Sita Devi made a Shiva lingam which is still worshipped in the Temple. From here pilgrims carry the sand and immerse it in Prayag and Kasi, and the water from prayag is brought all the way and abhshekam is performed to shiva in rameswaram.this is the practise that is going on for several yugas.Several books on theertha yatras mention this. That is the reason why you see pilgrims coming here from all over India.

Bhogar, kalanginathar, Guru Govind Singh have come here and meditated and Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj also came and made offerings. There is a very famous Sikh Gududwara in Rameswaram.

Matsyendranath one of the desicples of Dattatreya also came here. Late in the 19 century Swami Vivekanada came here. Holy mother Sarada Devi also came here and offered worship. There are mathams from all over India, having their monastries or chatrams in Rameswaram. The Kasi Sethu yatra from south traversed always from Rameswaram and ended in Kasi .There is a famous kasi lingam which was brought by Hanuman from kasi is still HOUSED in the temple.

Raman Theedai ( Island) is the exact place where the dredging is going to be carried out.Saints in the past have gone there to do their famous Teerth Snanam.Rameswaram is called Karma kshetram or Bhaskarakshetram.this has existed in all four yugas:Satya -Treta-Dwapara-Kali. The four mukthi stalams situated in the four corners of Bharat are- Badri , Puri, Dwaraka and Rameswaram. Mortal Judges may come and go but Immortal Rama and his Rama Sethu will remain for ever.

Camp.Rameswaram, Correspondent, Hinduvoice

Sunday, April 27, 2008

To protect Rama Setu, women light lamps, SC case impleads TR Baalu

To protect Rama Setu, women light lamps, SC case impleads TR Baalu

Dinamalar, April 29, page 3


To protect Rama Setu, women light lamps in the Setu ocean

Rameshwaram, April 28.

To protect Rama Setu, many women offered prayers by lighting lamps in Agniteertham ocean.

On behalf of Rama Setu Protection Movement, yesterday, starting from Goswami Matham many women went in a procession to Agniteertham ocean.

Movement functionary, Thillai Bhagyam led the procession which passed through four streets which started at 6 PM and reached the ocean

There, Special prayers were offered to protect Rama Setu by lighting lamps. Following this, the lamps were allowed to float on the ocean to complete the prayers. After this, they went to Rameshwaram temple and offered special prayers to Shiva and Ambal.

Hearing tomorrow on plea to vacate stay on Sethu project

Legal Correspondent (The Hindu, April 29, 2008)

Swamy seeks to implead T.R. Baalu in his personal capacity

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on April 30 the Centre’s application for vacating the interim stay restraining it from causing any damage to Ramar Sethu (Adam’s Bridge) in implementing the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project.

The court will also take up for hearing Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy’s plea for a direction to invalidate the project and to appoint a committee to consider it afresh.
Acting on his application, the court on August 31, 2007 passed the restraint order, while permitting dredging to continue in other areas. In its response, the Centre made it clear that it was not feasible to consider an alignment alternative to the existing one. On Monday, senior counsel Fali Nariman and Additional Solicitor-General R. Mohan, appearing for the Centre, told a three-judge Bench that the matter could be heard on Wednesday as the first item. (The matter is shown at the bottom of the list for hearing on Tuesday).

Dr. Swamy and counsel for other petitioners agreed and the Bench, comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and Mukundakam Sharma, fixed the hearing for Wednesday.

Dr. Swamy, in his application filed on Monday, sought permission to implead Union Minister T.R. Baalu in his personal capacity, alleging that there was a conflict of interest between his business interests and impartial performance of duties as Minister for Shipping and Surface Transport. He alleged that the Minister was pushing through the project as two companies — Meenam Fisheries and Westgate Logistics — managed by his sons had close links with it.

Rama Gopalan plea
Meanwhile, Hindu Munnani leader Rama Gopalan, who had filed a petition along with Dr. Swamy, in his rejoinder to the Centre’s affidavit, said the National Institute of Oceanography in cooperation with the Archaeological Survey of India should be asked to undertake an underwater survey to declare Ramar Sethu an ancient monument. Until then, it must not be damaged.

The rejoinder said: “Ramar Sethu is not a mere stone or body or cave of water as claimed by the Centre. It inheres [in it] the very essence of the identity of the nation.”

Baalu’s business interest in Sethu project: Swamy
April 28th, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy Monday alleged in the Supreme Court that Union Transport Minister T.R. Baalu is trying for expeditious implementation of the Sethu Samundram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) to further his family business interests. In a fresh application filed in the apex court, the former minister alleged that Baalu has family interest in both fishing and shipping and building a shorter navigational sea route around India’s southern peninsula would greatly benefit his family business.

Swamy made the allegation in an application which also sought the court’s direction to make Baalu a party to his petition against the implementation of the SSCP project and allow him to have his say during the hearing of his petition.

Swamy, along with several others, is agitating before the apex court seeking to stall the implementation of the SSCP project, aimed at building a shorter navigational sea route after damaging the Adam’s bridge or the Rama Sethu between India and Sri Lanka.
In his application, Swamy said, “Baalu and his various family members, including his two wives and two sons, have stakes in a private firm named Meenam Fisheries Limited which has fishing and shipping interests in the Palk Strait, Gulf of Mannar and the company will tremendously benefit from the implementation of the project.”

Quoting from Baalu’s affidavit filed before the Election Commission of India, declaring his assets and liabilities, Swamy said the minister himself has declared that he owns shares worth Rs 2.94 million in Meenam Fisheries Limited, while one of his two wives, T.R.B. Porkodi, owns its shares worth Rs 675,600.

Citing records from the Company Law Board, Swamy said that Baalu’s another wife, B. Renuka Devi, and his two sons T.R.B. Rajkumar and T.R.B. Raja are the directors of the company, which is a public limited company with deep sea interest.

A market leader in India with fishing operations in more than four countries and exporting all over the world, the company owns a number of vessels with such tonnage that allows their navigation in the shorter sea route around India.

Swamy also added that a shorter navigational sea route around India, beside serving Baalu’s own family business interest, would also enhance the same for other leaders belonging to DMK to which the minister belongs.

He said DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi from Tamil Nadu, too, owned shares worth Rs 350,000 in another company Westgate Logistics, which is engaged in services like “stevedoring, shipments consolidation and deconsolidation, global freight forwarding and customs management, regional warehousing and distribution network in the SSCP project.”

Swamy’s petition is to be heard Wednesday by the apex court.

Baalu's business interest in Sethu project: Swamy

Now, Parliament panel slams Baalu for interfering in ports’ functioning
Economy Bureau
Posted online: Tuesday , April 29, 2008 at 2236 hrs

New Delhi, Apr 28Already in the dock for admitting that he used his position to request for favours for his son’s company, T R Baalu now faces flak from Parliament panel who have asked his ministry to desist from interfering in port trusts’ functioning.

The public accounts committee of the Parliament in its action taken report, regarding the avoidable expenditure due to delay in taking a decision over the procurement of a dredger, reiterated that “the ministry should desist from intervening in commercial and operational matters concerning the port trusts, decisions on which should be best left to professional experts serving the port.”

The port trust and the ministry continually changed their stance on the construction and supply of a dredger, which led to an avoidable additional expenditure.

Other gaps found by the committee that led to the additional expenditure included the decision to sell the dredger under construction to the Dredging corporation of India on a cost plus basis and then in-chartering it for dredging activities of the port without conducting a feasibility and cost analysis.

The accounts committee’s report says that the interference of the ministry in the internal working of the Chennai Port Trust especially in matters relating to the commercial operations (owning or outsourcing the dredger) was uncalled for.
The public accounts committee’s examination of the issue brought the issue of the autonomy of the port into focus. The committee observed that since the Port trust was in a better position to assess its requirements relating to dredging and other related operational and functional difficulties, the ministry should have left the functioning of the owning and outsourcing a dredger to the Port Trust.

The committee also observed that even though the DCI offered very competitive rates to the Chennai Port Trust, the ministry did not accept them for a long term agreement which did not allow the trust to take a practical commercial decision.

Nail conflict of interest
29 Apr 2008, 0001 hrs IST , Upamanyu Hazarika

Conflict of interest between a minister's official duties and personal interests has reared itself again with allegations of lobbying against shipping and surface transport minister T R Baalu.

The minister has admitted with astonishing candour that he spoke with petroleum minister Murli Deora for allotment of gas to a family-owned company.

Not just that: The Prime Minister's Office sent eight reminders to the petroleum ministry to expedite the allocation.

Such brazen instances of official patronage occur with distressing irregularity in India.

Two years ago, Union communications minister Dayanidhi Maran came under the scanner for having threatened an industrialist for refusing to give a stake to his family-controlled company, Sun TV.

This prompted the leader of the opposition, L K Advani, to address a detailed letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the "extortionist conduct" of Maran.

Conflict of interest of ministers in western countries is governed by specific statutes setting out a detailed Code of Conduct, including post-employment restrictions for ministers and requiring rigorous adherence.

In India, there is a significant gap as conflict of interest does not find mention in the Constitution or in any statute.

The oath of office requires a minister to discharge duties "without fear or favour, affection or ill will", but the consequences for a breach are not spelled out.

There is a 'Code of Conduct for Ministers' issued by the cabinet secretariat. But it has no binding effect. It only requires a minister to divest himself from the conduct and management of any business.

The Supreme Court recognised this in the Jain hawala case where it approvingly referred to the Code of Conduct for ministers in Britain and issued directions insulating investigating agencies from political interference.

The court referred to a similar position in England which led to the constitution of a committee headed by Lord Nolan on "Standards of Public Life".

The Nolan committee set out seven principles on public life — selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership — which is extremely relevant in today's context.

The Supreme Court, referring to the principles, went on to say: "These principles of public life are of general application in every democracy and one is expected to bear them in mind while scrutinising the conduct of every holder of a public office... Any deviation from the path of rectitude by any of them amounts to a breach of trust and must be severely dealt with instead of being pushed under the carpet".

However, these directions remain a dead letter for the government and the political establishment, the emphasis being limited to declaration of assets.

Regular allegations of conflict of interest require an institutionalised mechanism for addressing such issues.

The steep decline in standards of public life can be gauged from the fact that Jawaharlal Nehru, in the wake of allegations against his finance minister T T Krishnamachari for favouring Harish Mundhra with investments by LIC in Mundhra's company, promptly set up an independent commission of inquiry by an eminent judge, M C Chagla.

The commission submitted its report in one month leading to Krishnamachari's resignation, the latter being held morally responsible.

Although Nehru disagreed with the report, he permitted his minister to resign to uphold probity in public life, expressing disagreement only by personally going to see off Krishnamachari.

It also speaks volumes for Nehru's greatness that when it came to finding a replacement in his cabinet for Abul Kalam Azad, he chose Justice Chagla.

Today, we have a situation in which Baalu has confessed that he sought favours. Conflict of interest is not a criminal activity and at the highest level can be said to have more to do with upholding morality in public life.

Prescription of a rigorous Code of Conduct making it enforceable by a committee of the concerned legislature will go a long way in avoiding instances of blatant favouritism.

The shipping minister would not have been so brazen if an enforceable Code of Conduct had been in place.

(The writer is an advocate.)
NT Bureau | Mon, 28 Apr, 2008 , 02:31 PM
The issue of Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu, misusing his position and power to favour his sons' firms, is likely to affect the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project as well.

Janata Party president and former Union Minister Dr Subramaniam Swamy is likely to file an 'interlocutory' petition with a prayer to extend the stay of dredging Rama Sethu to the entire project itself till certain urgent matters of 'conflict of interests' are heard by the court.
This interlocutory petition is likely to be filed when the Centre is making a mention before the Chief Justice for a priority listing for vacating the stay. The petitioners from Rama Sethu protection movement are likely to seek time to file the interlocutory petition.

In his interlocutory application, it is learnt that Dr Swamy has documented how the ship channel project will profoundly benefit Union Shipping Minister's wife and their sons, as large shares of owners of Meenam Fisheries Limited, as well as, the Tamilnadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's wife Rajathiammal and daughter Kanimozhi as major share holders of Westgate Logistics (P) Limited.

Both companies will directly benefit from the project, because, at present Meenam's fishing trawlers and motorised boats have to travel from Port Blair to Kakinada for a longer distance around Sri Lanka for sea food exports (about $ 2 million in value annually).

Westgate Logistics' business will also boom once the project is implemented, because, it's main business being stevedoring, piloting and customs and freight handling, it is expected to increase with the supposed increase of ship traffic from Tuticorin to Chennai and to Kolkatta.

Swamy has pointed out in his application to the Supreme Court that both Baalu and Kanimozhi have admitted owning shares in these companies in their affidavits filed as candidates in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections respectively.

Earlier, Swamy had also written to the Prime Minister seeking sanction to prosecute Baalu under Section 11 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He told Jaya TV that he was examining whether to ask the Tamilnadu Governor for sanction to prosecute Karunanidhi for the same reason.

It seems the SSCP ghost might pose a scare at the UPA chairperson Sonia also.

Swamy had said that, he is examining whether the recent contract given for dredging in the SSCP by the Dredging Corporation of India to the Belgian company, 'Dredger International' had anything to do with Sonia's receiving the 'Belgian King Leopold Golden Cross medal' and Honorary Citizenship Award.

Officers of the 'Dredger International' were in attendance when Sonia went to Brussels to kneel before the King and receive the award.

The Election Commission is still seized of her disqualification petition and yet to pronounce its verdict, after sending her a notice.

It seems the UPA is in deep trouble more than what it would have anticipated in the aftermath of Baalu's 'gas' bid. Difficult times ahead!

Setusamudram hey kaarasthan (Setusamudram is a conspiratorial place)

Setusamudram hey kaarasthan (Setusamudram is a conspiratorial place)

Press Release:

Janata Party President and former Union Cabinet Minister, Dr. Subramanian Swamy today circulated a letter to the petitioners in the Rama Setu case in the Supreme Court to seek time on Monday [when the Union of India is making a mention before the Chief Justice for a priority listing] to file an interloculatory application to extend the Stay granted on August 31,2007 against the damaging or destroying of the Rama Setu, to staying the entire Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project[SSCP] till the certain urgent matters of conflict of interest are heard by the Court.

In his interloculatory application, it is learnt that Dr. Swamy has documented how the ship channel project will profoundly benefit Union Shipping Minister Mr. T.R. Baalu's sons and two wives[which itself is a criminal offence itself under Section 494 of IPC and carries a seven year punishment] as large shares of owners of Meenam Fisheries Limited as well as the Tamil Chief Minister Mr. M.Karunanidhi's wife Rajathiamma and daughter Kanimozhi as major share holders of Westgate Logistics Limited. Both companies will directly benefit from the project because at present Meenam's fishing trawlers and motorised boats presently have to travel from Port Blair to Kakinada for a longer distance around Sri Lanka for sea food exports[ about $ 2 million in value annually]. Westgate business will also boom once the project is implemented because it's main business is stevedoring, piloting and customs & freight handling which with the claimed increased ship traffic from Tuticorin to Chennai and to Kolkatta will increase business of the Westgate Logistics. Dr. Swamy has pointed out in his application to the Supreme Court that both Baalu and Kanimozhi have admitted owning shares in these companies in their affidavits filed as candidates in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections respectively.

Dr. Swamy has also written to the Prime Minister seeking sanction to prosecute Mr. Baalu under Section 11 and 13 of the Prevention of Corrupton Act. He told Jaya TV that he was examining whether to ask the TN Governor for sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi for the same reason.

He also said that he is examining whether the recent contract given for dredging in the SSCP by the Dredging Corporation of India to the Belgian company, Dredger International had anything to do with Ms. Sonia Gandhi's receiving the Belgian King Leopold Golden Cross medal and honorary citizenship. Officers of the Dredger International were in attendance when Ms. Gandhi went to Brussels to kneel before the King and receive the award. The Election Commission has yet to pronounce on her MP disqualification petition on this matter, after sending her a Notice.

Dr. Subramanian Swamy

Dredger Intl of Belgium dredges in Setu and Sonia gets the Belgium Medal of Order of Leopold

On 28th Sept. 2006, Dredging Corporation of India tells the AGM about Consortium agreement with Dredging International of Belgium. King Albert II hosted a lunch on Saturday, 11 Nov. 2006, afternoon in honour of Sonia before she got the Medal of Order of Leopold.

Corporate Notice

Source: BSE - Dredging Corporation of India Ltd (DCI) has informed BSE about press note issued in connection with the 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Company held on September 28, 2006 : 1. Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project: - The Company has made a contribution of Rs 5.50 Crores towards equity for the Special Purpose Vehicle, Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd. - The Company has been awarded capital dredging work of E3-E4 stretch in Palk Strait area adjoining Bay of Bengal on nomination basis in June 2005. Out of 13.5 Million cubic meters to be dredged, The Company so far dredged around 6.09 million cubic meters and will complete the balance work by June 2007 within the scheduled period of completion. - The Company also entered into Consortium agreement with Dredging International and participated in tender for balance work of Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project viz., Work "C" - Palk Bay, Palk Strait and Work "A & B" - Adams Bridge…

3. Major Initiatives of the Company to meet Future Dredging Requirements in India and Abroad: The Company has initiated number of measures to maintain its market in India, expand its market outside India, improve quality and upgrade employee skills, improve safety management systems etc. The following are some of the important measures being initiated by the Company in this direction: 3 (a) Acquisition of New Dredgers / Addition of Capacities: - Long term Acquisition programme has been drawn up taking into account the market demand in the next 10 years and action in this direction has been initiated. - Mean while in order to meet immediate market demand and to augment the capacities to the extent possible, the Company proposes to charter dredgers through Trans Chart. A Charter Party agreement has been signed for charter of a 4700 Cu.M hopper capacity trailer suction hopper dredger on July 06, 2006. The Dredger has been delivered to the Company on September 07, 2006 and is presently working at Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project. - The Company has also placed provisional orders for chartering of two more dredgers of 5000 CUM hopper capacity and is to charter more dredgers through Trans Chart after establishing the technical suitability of the vessels. - Order has been placed with Mazagaon Dock Ltd., Mumbai in October 2005 for procurement of one number Cutter Suction Dredger of 2000 cu.m solids per hour capacity and the vessel is expected to be delivered by December 2007. - Tendering action is on hand for procurement of 5000 Cu.M hopper capacity Trailer Suction Hopper Dredgers and for other vessels. - Action is also on hand for procurement of one number Backhoe dredger and two numbers self propelled hopper barges for carrying out dredging works in front of berths and jetties and for consolidated strata, which cannot be carried out by TSHDs or CSDs. 3 (b). JV / SPVS: - Project specific JV for joint participation for SSCP has been finalized with Dredging International and joint biddings have been submitted for work "C" and Work "A&B" of Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project. - Discussions are on hand with Companies in Bahrain for formulating joint venture companies for carrying out dredging operations in Middle East Countries. - The Company is also looking for identification of JV partners for joint participation in some major capital dredging projects in India…

Source: NSE - Dredging Corporation Of India Limited has informed the Exchange that the Company has entered into an Memorandum of Understanding with M/s Dredging International NV, Belgium (DI) for joint participation as a consortium in bidding for dredging and for execution, if the contract is awarded to the consortium , of the Sethusamundram Ship Channel Project at the sections - Adam's Bridge and/or Southern part of Palk Starit/Palk Bay. A Memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between the Company and DI on April 13, 2006. Date: 2006-04-19

Source: BSE - Dredging Corporation of India Ltd has informed BSE that the Company has entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with M/s Dredging International NV, Belgium (DI) for joint participation as a consortium in bidding for dredging and for execution, if the contract is awarded to the consortium, of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project at the sections - Adam's Bridge and / or Southern part of Palk Starit / Palk Bay. A Memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between the Company and DI on April 13, 2006. Date: 2006-04-19

Dredging Corporation of India

The Directors have pleasure in presenting this 30th Annual Report
together with the audited accounts of the Company for the year ended
31st March, 2006…

The charter hire agreement of the Cutter Suction Dredger, DCI Dredge
Aquarius with M/s Dredging International was extended from June 2005
for two years, upto June, 2007.

Sonia gets Belgium's Order of Leopold

H S Rao in Brussels | PTI | November 11, 2006 | 22:09 IST
In a unique honour, Belgium on Saturday conferred the Order of Leopold, the country's second highest civilian award, on Sonia Gandhi, Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson, for her "constructive nationalism" and her efforts to foster a multicultural, tolerant society in India.
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt presented the decoration 'Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold' on Sonia in the presence of a galaxy of leaders including Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, Viscount E Davignon,Indian Council for Cultural Relations Chairman Dr Karan Singh,ICCR Director General Pawan Varma and India's Tourism Minister Ambika Soni.
Previous recipients of the Order of Leopold include Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz Tito and former US president Dwight Eisenhower.
At the same venue, Bozar, where a four-month long festival of India is being held, the Brussels University conferred a honarary doctorate on Sonia.
Prof Bvan Camp, rector of the university, conferred the doctorate on Sonia for distinguishing herself in her areas of work and contributing significantly to society.
Previous recipients of the university doctrate include Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, world famous composer, Brezed Cullar former UN secretary general, Dr Willy Brandt, former chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany and Sir Peter Ustinov, ambassador of UNICEF.
King Albert II hosted a lunch on Saturday afternoon in honour of Sonia in which members of the royal family including Prince Philippe, Princes Mathilde, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht were present at the Royal Laeken Castle in Brussels.
Official sources said the luncheon by the king in honour of Sonia assumes significance in view of the fact that the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, who had visited earlier in September, failed to get an audience with him.
Responding to the honour conferred on her, Sonia said, "I do believe that by conferring this distinction you are recognising not the individual that I am, but the values that I have imbibed and stand for."
She said that she was but 18 when she met her husband Rajiv Gandhi and not long after that she married and moved to India.
"I am reminded of what my mother-in-law Indira Gandhi used to say, 'One's real education is in the university of life'," she said.
"What I am today is largely because of being a member of the remarkable family into which I married, and because of the love I've received throughout from the people who have accepted me as one of their own," Sonia said.
Referring to the 'Festival of India' that has come to Europe after a decade and half, the UPA chairperson said she was delighted that it was being held in the magnificent premises of the Palais de Beaux Art.
Noting that the choice of Brussels for the festival is a considered one, Sonia said, "Your beautiful city has become in many ways the capital of the European Union. It is the seat of the European Parliament and the European Commission. It has a great sense of culture and history."
She said the exhibition inaugurated on Saturday was part of the Festival of India and was unique.
"This is the first time that so many rare priceless sculptures have been taken abroad from among the treasures housed in museums all across India," she said.
Tejas, the name given to the collections, is a Sanskrit term that implies "effulgence, radiance, energy". It symbolises the enduring dynamics and creativity of Indian culture.
"Tejas profiles India's civilisational journey over 1,500 years of a most formative period of its past," she said.
"Going back in unbroken continuity to the dawn of history, our history is an inclusive one," Sonia said.
Over the centuries it has absorbed influences, faiths, ideas and people without compromising its essential integrity and strength, she said.
"Today our nation is a land of diversity and variety on a constitutional scale," she quoted India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru vividly describing India as "an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thoughts and reverie had been inscribed and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what has been written previously."
"Though outwardly there was diversity and infinite variety among our people. Everywhere there was that tremendous impress of oneness, which has held all of us together for ages past, whatever the political fate or misfortune had befallen us," Sonia quoted Nehru as saying.
"We are proud that our culture reflects this. We happen to be the birthplace of four of the world's major religions and home to the second largest population of another faith, Islam," Sonia said.
Noting that India was no stranger to Europe, Sonia said the formidable scholarship of Indologists in various countries of this continent has not only made the world aware of India in its various manifestations, but also made Indians themselves aware of their own history and heritage.
"Being inheritors to a historic heritage is both empowering and humbling. It is empowering because of the remarkably old roots of our nation's composite character. It is humbling because of the enormous responsibility it places on us to preserve it and make it accessible to others," she added.
She said in the modern world there is much that India and Belgium share in common. "Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, independent judiciary, a free press and protection of human rights are fundamental values to which our two societies are wedded," Sonia said.
"In the area of economy and trade, our two countries have been expanding and deeping their partnerships. Belgium is the second largest trading party for India with the EU. Our bilateral trade crossed 8 billion euros in 2005, much of it contributed by the diamond trade. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in India because of its economic and technological achievments and because of the contribution of its diaspora. But the India that is on display here is a different one," she said.
"It is an India rich in its philosophical thought, multiple faiths and beliefs. It is an India that once 2,000 years ago had proclaimed vasudeva kutumbakam -- the world is one family," she added.
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Ancient Chola port city: ASI refused NOC for Poompuhar harbour

Ancient Chola port city: ASI refused NOC for Poompuhar harbour

Publication:Times Of India Chennai; Date:Apr 26, 2008; Page Number:4

ASI refuses NOC for Poompuhar harbour
Accuses DMK Government Of Arm-twisting
T S Sreenivasa Raghavan | TNN

Chennai: Even as the Ram Setu row continues to simmer, the DMK government is headed for another controversy, this one set in the backdrop of the historic Poompuhar town in Nagapattinam district.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and state archaeology department have accused the government of armtwisting them into giving a ‘no objection’ certificate’ (NOC) for a Union government-funded Rs 40-crore fishing harbour at Poompuhar that could destroy the ruins of the ancient Chola port city, lying at a depth of eight metres under the sea.

Archaeologists have refused to issue NOC for the proposed project since “the site chosen has several on and offshore archaeological structures.”

The firm stand taken by the ASI/state archaeology officials could be attributed to the underwater images captured by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) when it carried out a site scan immediately after the tsunami and reconnaissance survey in 2006. These exclusive images and video film are available with The Times of India.

Interestingly, fisheries commissioner Shambu Kallolikar in his March 19 letter to the state archaeology principal commissioner S Gurumurthy claimed monuments identified by NIOT were buried at a distance of four to five km from the shoreline and at a depth of more than 50 feet.

“They’re old. He’s not aware about recent surveys. The structures are less than half-a-kilometer and they lie at a depth of seven to 11 meters. The fisheries commissioner’s claim is based on villagers’ opinion, not scientific data,” archaeological sources said.

Shambu in his letter played to popular sentiments to justify the harbour site saying “it would protect the Poompuhar village from sea erosion.”

But, what upset ASI/state archaeology officials was the blunt comment by a top official of the fisheries department during a meeting in March. “He said it was more important to ensure livelihood to the living rather than protecting submerged temples and vihars constructed by dead people. We’re shocked,” sources said.

Former director of the state archaeology department Natana Kasinathan, who attended the meeting, said: “I made it clear. If the site had some archaeological structures, then the harbour has to be shelved.”

His opinion assumes significance since the five underwater surveys undertaken during his tenure between 1991 and 1997 had unearthed a shipwreck, lead ingots and six man-made structures at Poompuhar.

“No construction can happen in 200 to 300 meters of monuments of archaeological importance. It’s not possible to construct the harbour since several archaeological structures are strewn around the site,” sources said, adding the structures discovered by NIOT needed further studies. “They’re huge in size. They’re also covered with bio-fouling. Only when you remove the fouling, we will know if the structures are parts of Buddhist vihars, temples or a row of houses,” they said.

Shambu Kallolikar, when contacted, confessed the project was in a state of limbo. However, he denied charges of arm-twisting. “If they (archaeologists) think I am bulldozing them, they’re wrong. We are ready to alter the structural design if the harbour meddles with their monuments. But, they have no conclusive proof. So, we’re asking National Institute of Oceanography, Goa to do a survey. Also let me make it clear there’s no political pressure to push this project through.”

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Setusamudram hey kaarasthan: thieves, saboteurs & pawnbrokers -- V. Sundaram

Setusamudram hey kaarasthan: thieves, saboteurs & pawnbrokers -- V. Sundaram

Thieves, saboteurs and pawnbrokers – I

V SUNDARAM | Sat, 26 Apr, 2008 , 02:17 PM
‘Falsehoods not only disagree with truths, but usually quarrel among themselves’
— Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

T R Baalu’s blatant Falsehoods seem to be in a state of war with Dr Manmohan Singh’s nervous truths laced with meek falsehoods. I can see from today’s papers that PM’s Office has asked CBI for an inquiry about the commercial dealings of Union Minister for Shipping and Transport, Baalu and his family members.

In a situation when charges have been made that Baalu has abused his public office as Union Shipping and Transport Minister to get gas allotments in the name of his sons, the ordering of an enquiry by PM’s Office gains public importance.Though Baalu has accepted in Parliament, that he used his office to ask for gas allotment for his sons’ firms, yet he has also had the shameless political audacity to proclaim in Parliament that there was nothing wrong in doing so.This only shows Baalu’s determined Dravidian inability to distinguish between that which is patently wrong and that which is morally right. Only those who are entirely bereft of probity and believe that misusing authority is part of the privilege of holding any public office can be so scandalously callous. By choosing to remain silent, as a helpless spectator standing on the sidelines in Parliament, our disgraceful Prime Minister has shown that he wholly subscribes (both in letter and spirit) to the corrupt and corrupting political philosophy of Baalu and his grisly gang.

AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP Dr Maithreyan who raised several relevant and valid questions on the political misconduct and misdeeds of Baalu, was directed to withdraw from the House. After a lapse of 19 years, the withdrawal of a Member was ordered in Rajya Sabha. The Honourable Speaker of the Rajya Sabha has shocked the conscience of the man in the street in India by his wholly one-sided, if not partisan attitude, on this very important issue. Condemning the action of the Rajya Sabha Chairman, BJP members observed a silent protest during the Question Hour.
Our surrogate Prime Minister, as usual, chose to remain silent when Dr.Maithreyan was ordered to withdraw from the House. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister cannot chose to remain neutral between the fire brigade and the fire for too long. In the next few days he will be forced to respond in Parliament to the issues raised by Dr Maithreyan and BJP members.

In order to equip himself suitably to meet this unsavory contingency, I understand that the PM has requested the CBI to conduct an enquiry on the allegations made against Baalu by Dr Subramanian Swamy, Dr Maithreyan and others, with specific focus on the following questions/ issues. Reliable sources indicate that four important enquiries have been posted for investigation.
1.Using a firm based in Andhra Pradesh as benami, for dredging operations in Setusamudram project, have contracts been given to Baalu’s family members? Have any members of Baalu’s family benefited from such benami contracts?

2.In Golden Quadrilateral Project, complaints have been made that low-level politicians are involved in illegalities in many states. What is the truth in these allegations?

3.To what extent have Baalu family-related concerns benefited from ONGC? What special privileges and facilities and concessions have been provided by ONGC to these entities? Have there been any illegalities in these facilities provided by ONGC? Details should be gathered.

4.Large bank loans have been taken in the name of Baalu’s sons’ firms and have not been repaid; is this allegation based on fact? To prevent banks from initiating action to recover the dues, has any abuse of office occurred by Baalu’s attempted interventions? Are there cases pending in Bank loan recovery tribunals?

I reliably understand that the Prime Minister’s Office has asked for the above-mentioned details to be gathered by CBI at the earliest.

In these columns in March 2007, I had written a series of three articles titled ‘SSCP - A MONUMENT OF FRAUD AND INFAMY’. In the first article, I had observed as follows: ‘Many of the Union Cabinet Ministers and many of the Public Servants in positions of high authority in the Government of India need public insults in the larger public interest. Many of them behave or conduct themselves so abominably that they cry out for public abuse….. The public men who are responsible for the shoddy evaluation and murky implementation of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) can only be described in the words of Shakespeare: ‘Horrible villains! Villains of the Earth! Soulless villains! Hungry villains! Insolent villains! Smiling, damned villains! Abominable villains! Treacherous villains!....’ I am of the view that SSCP is a monument of fraud and infamy. The Office of the Prime Minister, The Union Ministry of Shipping and Transport, The Tuticorin Port Trust have collectively bungled in a calculated manner in according sanction to this Project which in my view will only lead to disastrous consequences’. I have been fully vindicated on my stand today.
Likewise, in my second article in March 2007, keeping in view the highly suspicious and questionable postures, responses, deeds and actions of Baalu, I had stated: ‘No one can dispute the fact that the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) has been planned, organized and launched as a ‘Political (Commercial) Asset’ for a few Cabinet Ministers in UPA Government and some of their selected counter parts in Tamilnadu. According to experts, unbiased technical and scientific opinion in India and abroad, SSCP is a scientifically inconsistent, technologically non-feasible Project at the present time. The cogent arguments presented by great Tsunami Specialists and Earth Scientists of International stature have not been considered or answered in open transparent forums by the leading proponents of the Project. Many of the vital questions raised by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in March 2005, were bypassed in a subterranean manner by insidious, covert, sly, slimy and stealthy maneuvers and operations. What is amazing is that the top brass of the Indian Navy has remained silent or neutral on the SSCP and the brazen promoters of the SSCP like Baalu – I mean the firmly entrenched vested interests involved only in a private loot under the garb of the public interest – have become the de-facto Naval Strategists of Palk Bay’.

I had concluded that there had been an organized conspiracy of firmly entrenched vested interests – The PMO, The Union Ministry for Shipping and Transport and The Tuticorin Port Trust – to ignore the best technical advice given by International Experts about the wholly avoidable dangers of the SSCP in its present shape. I had also stated ‘Due process of law requires that the proceedings shall be fair, but fairness is a relative, not an absolute concept. It is fairness with reference to particular conditions or particular results. Whichever way one looks at it, there has been a total violation of The Due Process by the Government of India in according sanction for the SSCP. That is why I am appealing to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India to treat this Newspaper article of mine as a Public Interest Litigation Petition and to stay the construction work under SSCP till all the public issues are fully thrashed out openly in the highest judicial tribunal of the land’.

I earnestly hope against hope that the Supreme Court of India which is going to deal with this issue for the nth time on Tuesday the 29 April 2008 would not treat the above vital national issues raised as STALE. The Supreme Court of India had treated more than one billion common citizens of India with supreme contempt when it dismissed the petition filed by Dr Subramanian Swamy against Sonia Gandhi for her having giving filed a false affidavit in a deliberate manner relating to her non-existent qualifications as a Graduate of Cambridge University in England. The Supreme Court called it a STALE ISSUE and dismissed the case.

In this context, I would like to recall the following words of timeless and pragmatic judicial wisdom of Justice Francoise Brandeis and Justice Felix Frankfurter:
Justice Francoise Brandeis said ‘And in the development of our liberty insistence upon procedural regularity has been a large factor. Respect for law will not be advanced by resort, in its enforcement, to means which shock the common man’s sense of decency and fair play.’

Justice Felix Frankfurter stated ‘The history of liberty has largely been the history of observance of procedural safeguards.’

In several Marathi Newspapers, they had recently published the hilarious headline: ‘Setusamudram hey Kaarasthaan’. ‘Kaarasthaan’ in Marathi means ‘conspiratorial place’. Against this background, Dr S Kalyanaraman has declared with high and unquestionable moral authority: ‘Setusamudram was the place where Sri Rama won his great victory over a-dharmic forces led by Asura Ravana. The legatee a-dharmic forces still operating today will meet their just end in Setusamudram. These evil forces will sink in this confluence of oceans parted by Rama Setu.’

The Government of President Nixon (1913-1994) of USA became famous in world history as the Government of Watergate by Watergate for Watergate. The imbecile Government of Dr Manmohan Singh—lifeless and listless in every area of Government activity excepting in the most abominable field of transnational Himalayan corruption—has already become world famous as a Surrogate-Watergate—Watergate for Surrogate—Government. I am not using these words loosely or casually just for the sake of alliteration. Perhaps my alliteration by way of ‘political poetry’ may be incidental, but what I am trying to convey is fundamental. I am only acting upon the words of wisdom of the great American Poet Robert Frost (1874-1963): ‘Poetry is nothing but a beautiful and artful combination of sound of sense and sense of sound’.

Dr Manmohan Singh and his corrupt Cabinet Ministers, duly blessed by ‘Mother Superior’ from Italy, have ‘Condomised’ every institution of the State—the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary—for their own private purposes in the ‘garb of public interest’ with pseudo-secular gay abandon which has been fully endorsed by all the anti-national gangsters in the UPA coalition Government.

V SUNDARAM | Mon, 28 Apr, 2008 , 02:39 PM

‘The judge is under a duty, within the limits of his power of innovation, to maintain a relation between law and morals, between the precepts of jurisprudence and those of reason and good conscience.’—JUSTICE CARDOZO, Benjamin N.

Perhaps Justice Learned Hand (1872-1961), the famed American Judge, had Courts of Law like our today’s Supreme Court in view when in a famous case (Loubriel vs United States) in 1926 ruled in this manner: ‘There is no surer sign of a feeble and fumbling law than timidity in penetrating the form to the substance’. I am quoting Justice Learned Hand here, only with reference to the context of the Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting, Hindu-hating, Lord Rama-baiting and Ram Sethu destroying ‘Minority UPA Government’, under the unconstitutional stranglehold of a woman imposter from Italy, shamelessly retracting from their earlier stand on Lord rama and Ram Sethu and withdrawing their earlier affidavit in the famous SSCP-Ram Sethu case in the Supreme Court in September 2007. The ever-shaky Government of India were really panicked by the political repercussions of their anti-Rama and anti-Ram Sethu stand on the one hand and the grand manner in which the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) moved to take the matter to the streets all over India to mobilize popular public support. The Central government in a knee-jerk response decided to withdraw the ‘offending remarks’ from the earlier affidavit which said ‘there is no scientific or historical evidence to prove the existence of ‘Lord Ram.’

When the Additional Solicitor General of India (representing the ever unsteady Central Government!) thus retracted in a shaky and nervous manner before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court by choosing to remain silent, in effect, only gave a cubic content to the words of Justice Learned Hand cited above: ‘There is no surer sign of a feeble and humbling law than timidity in penetrating the form to the substance’ This was the end of Stage I in the tortuous evolution of the Ram Sethu Case in the Supreme Court.

In the wider political arena outside the Supreme Court, H R Bhardwaj, Union Minister for Law (-lessness?) somersaulted from his earlier pseudo-secular anti-Hindu position and said with brazen dissimulation: ‘Lord Ram is an integral part of Hindu faith and his existence can never be doubted. As Himalaya is Himalaya, Ganga is Ganga, Rama is Rama. It is a question of faith. There is no requirement of any proof to establish the existence based on faith’.

Our Courts of Law have not yet taken note of the fact that the UPA Government consisting of political toadies and touts randomly drawn from a conglomeration of political parties without any public ideology, is letting loose some of the worst and most soul-destroying forms of Hindu discrimination and blatant violation of Hindu Human Rights in an organized manner. Their only aim is to destroy Hindu Religion, Hindu Culture and Hindu Society in the next decade and thus convert all the living Hindu Gods of India like Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati and several other Hindu Gods into dead artifacts of history like the dead Gods of Greece and Rome, through politically crooked machinations if possible and through Courts of Law if necessary.

The Second Stage (II) in this tortuous case was reached when a Supreme Court Bench comprising Hon’ble Justices B N Agarwal and P P Naolekar created history when they imposed a STAY on the proposed Bandh of DMK and its allies in Tamilnadu on 1 October, 2007. By pronouncing this bold decision, they have indeed become great and fearless heroes in the eyes of all the Hindus of India.

When Karunanidhi and his party men sat on a stage and fasted against the Stay orders of the Supreme Court of India, Dr.Ramachandran, the Chairman of the Committee of Eminent Persons on SSCP appointed by T.R.Baalu, Union Minister for Shipping and Transport, covered himself with everlasting shame when he went and put a Ponnadai (shawl) on the fasting Chief Minister who was showing open contempt for the Ban Orders of the Supreme Court of India. I am presenting below the photograph of the Chairman of the Experts Committee putting a Ponnadai on Karunanidhi that historic occasion. Thus the Committee of Eminent Persons for the SSCP has forfeited public confidence because of its known pro-DMK bias and sycophancy.

Death of fairplay and natural justice:
Dr Ramachandran putting a shawl on Karunanidhi
on the day of his fast on 1 October, 2007

It is clear from all public accounts and public records that both Dr.Ramachandran and Karunanidhi have contempt not only for Lord Rama and Ram Sethu but also for the Supreme Court of India. Karunanidhi had asked the questions “What are the qualifications of Rama? Where did Rama get his Engineering Degree from?”The third (III) Stage in this case was reached on 15th April 2008 when the Supreme Court Bench consisting of Chief Justice Balakrishnan and Justice Ravindran, dealt a lethal blow to the time-honoured religious feelings, emotions and sentiments of more than 1 billion Hindus in India, by expressing its uncalled for displeasure to Dr.Subramanian Swamy who had rightly called Ram Sethu, a place of worship. The Supreme Court with supreme contempt for Lord Rama asked: “Who says Ram Sethu is a place of worship? Who goes to the middle of the sea to worship? Don’t say people go there to worship? As a student of history, I can confirm the fact that no Judge either during Muslim Rule (100AD to 1080 AD) or British Rule (1764 to 1947) ever questioned the Historicity or Sacredness of Lord Rama or Rama Sethu.

In this context, I fully endorse the statement of Col.S.S.Rajan, who undertook a heroic Padayatra from Chennai to Rameswaram last year to defend Ram Sethu: ‘For more than a Billion, ie. 1000 million Hindus in India and outside India throughout the world, Rameshwaram and the RAMA SETHU are as holy and as sacred as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to the Jews, the Vatican in Rome to the Roman Catholics, the Bodhgaya in Bihar to the Buddhists and Mecca in Saudi Arabia to the Muslims…..The attitude of the CJI and other learned Judges hearing the case has only strengthened my view that, in matters of faith, no Court, I repeat no Court should ever be asked to adjudicate; for in matters of faith, no Court; not even the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India or for that matter the International Court of Justice at Hague, has neither the knowledge, competence or jurisdiction to hear such cases; leave alone delivering judgment on such cases’.

The IVth Stage in this case starts in the Supreme Court on 29-4-2008. It is interesting to note that Janata Party President and former Union Cabinet Minister, Dr. Subramanian Swamy today has circulated a letter yesterday (27-4-2008) to the petitioners in the Rama Setu case in the Supreme Court to seek time on Monday [when the Union of India is making a mention before the Chief Justice for a priority listing] to file an interlocutory application to extend the Stay granted on August 31,2007 against the damaging or destroying of the Rama Setu, to staying the entire Sethu-samudram Ship Channel Project[SSCP] till the certain urgent matters of conflict of interest are heard by the Court. Consequently, Dr.Swamy had filed his interlocutory petition today at the Supreme Court.

I understand that In his interlocutory application, Dr. Swamy has documented how the ship channel project will profoundly benefit Union Shipping Minister Mr. T.R. Baalu’s sons and two wives[which itself is a criminal offence under Section 494 of IPC and carries a seven year punishment] as large share holders of Meenam Fisheries Limited as well as the Tamil Chief Minister Mr. M.Karunanidhi’s wife Rajathiamma and daughter Kanimozhi as major share holders of Westgate Logistics Limited. According to Dr.Swamy, both companies will directly benefit from the project because at present Meenam’s fishing trawlers and motorized boats presently have to travel from Port Blair to Kakinada for a longer distance around Sri Lanka for sea food exports[ valued at more than $ 2 million annually]. Westgate business will also boom once the project is implemented because it’s main business is stevedoring, piloting and customs & freight handling which with the claimed increased ship traffic from Tuticorin to Chennai and to Kolkatta will increase business of the Westgate Logistics. Dr. Swamy has pointed out in his application to the Supreme Court that both Baalu and Kanimozhi have admitted owning shares in these companies in their affidavits filed as candidates in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections respectively.

Dr. Swamy has written to the Prime Minister seeking sanction to prosecute Mr. Baalu under Section 11 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He told Jaya TV that he was examining whether to ask the TN Governor for sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi for the same reason.

Dr.Swamy has also said that he is examining whether the recent contract given for dredging in the SSCP by the Dredging Corporation of India to the Belgian company, Dredger International had anything to do with Ms. Sonia Gandhi’s receiving the Belgian King Leopold Golden Cross medal and honorary citizenship. Officers of the Dredger International were in attendance when Ms. Gandhi went to Brussels to kneel before the King and receive the award. The Election Commission has yet to pronounce on her MP disqualification petition on this matter, after sending her a Notice.

The besieged Hindus of India are hoping that the Supreme Court would do justice to them.On September 2 1962, in a historic Editorial titled ‘The Frankfurter Legacy,’ New York Times paid this tribute to Justice Felix Frankfurter:“History will find greatness in Felix Frankfurter as a justice, not because of the result he reached but because of his attitude toward the process of decision. His guiding lights were detachment, rigorous integrity in dealing with the facts of a case, refusal to resort to unworthy means, no matter how noble the end, and dedication to the Court as an institution.’ It is the inalienable right of all the Hindus of India to demand that all our Supreme Court Judges ought to function like the great Justice Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965) and not like Oriental potentates.

V SUNDARAM | Tue, 29 Apr, 2008 , 03:54 PM
The Supreme Court Bench headed by the Most Honourable Chief Justice K.G.Balakrishnan posed these questions to Dr.Subramanian Swamy in open court on April 14, 2008: “Who says Ram Sethu is a place of worship?

Who goes to the middle of the sea to worship? Don’t say people go there and worship!” By putting such questions, the Supreme Court of India has caused a grievous hurt to the soul of Bharat Matha whose beloved immortal Son is Lord Rama. The Supreme Court of India derives its power from the spirit of the People of India and vice versa. In the ultimate analysis, Supreme Court Judges are Public Servants and this means they are servants of the people in the larger sense and not vice versa. As an insignificant citizen, armed and fortified by the faith of my Hindu forefathers dating back to the Vedic Age, I am presenting above a news cutting from one of the most popular Tamil Dailies of Tamil Nadu called DINAMALAR about how thousands of women offered their worship on mid sea in Rameswaram called ‘Agni Theertha on 28th April 2008. This news appeared on the same day on Page 3 of Dinamalar dated 28th April 2008. Under the bold and inspiring leadership of Ms.Thillai Packiyam, thousands of Hindu women, first went on a march on all the streets of Rameswaram before finally reaching ‘Agni Theertha’. There on mid sea, they offered their traditional prayers in keeping with the age old conventions established by their forefathers. They offered a special prayer for the protection of Ram Sethu against the organized plot and conspiracy of the anti-Hindu, anti-Rama and anti-Ram Sethu marauders in UPA Government to somehow destroy Ram Sethu – a timeless symbol of Hindu culture.

I asked my friend Dr.Kalyaraman who is an Internationally acknowledged scholar on Sanatana Dharma and Saraswati Civilization to give me some references from our Vedic Heritage and Sanskrit Literature regarding the significance of offering prayers on Ram Sethu in mid sea.

Let us hear his inspiring words in this context:

Vedavyasa refers to Nalasetu in Mahabharata:nalasetur iti khyÄto yo ‘dyÄpi prathito bhuvi rÄmasyÄjnÄm puraskrutya dhÄryate girisannibhaah MBh. 3.267.45 “... which even today, popular on earth as Nala’s bridge, mountain-like, is sustained out of respect for [Lord] Rama’s command. (Nala was son of Vis’wakarma).

Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa (sarga 13): Rama, while returning from SriLanka in pushpaka vimaana: ‘Behold, Sita, My Sethu of mountains dividing this frothy ocean is like the milky way dividing the sky into two parts’

The worship by offering deepams in the Setu ocean in Rameshwaram is in adherence to this tradition of respecting Sri Rama’s command. As Veda Vyasa notes, even during the days of Mahabharata, it was deemed as a responsibility of the people to protect Rama Setu: ramasyaajnaam puraskritya dhaaryate... that is, protect true to Sri Rama’s command. It is a tribute to the greatness of Hindu dharma exemplified by Rama Setu that the worship of Rama Setu to protect Rama Setu should find expression by this thrilling example of the women of Rameshwaram offering lamps in the Setusamudram in Agniteertham.’

All the Hindus of India are deeply hurt by the contempt shown by our Supreme Court towards the Divine Glory of Lord Rama and the sacredness of Ram Sethu. A former Judge of the Madras High Court (a practicing Hindu) told me that it is my public duty as a Hindu Journalist to invite the kind attention of the culturally absolutist Supreme Court of India to the following advice given to all the Judges by Chief Justice Felix Frankfurtur: ‘For the highest exercise of Judicial duty is to subordinate one’s personal pulls and one’s private views to the Law of which we are all guardians – the impersonal convictions that make a society a civilized community, and not the victims of personal rule’.

I have been greatly influenced and inspired by the writings and pronouncements of Chief Justice Felix Frankfurtur (1882-1965). Here is another quote from him which is no less relevant in the present context: ‘There is torture of mind as well as body; the will is as much affected by fear as by force. And there comes a point where this Court should not be ignorant as Judges of what we know as men.’ I would also like to invite the benign attention of our Supreme Court to the following advice of Justice Harlan F. Stone given in a judgment in 1936: ‘While unconstitutional exercise of power by the Executive and Legislative branches of the Government is subject to judicial restraint, THE ONLY CHECK UPON OUR OWN EXERCISE OF POWER IS OUR OWN SENSE OF SELF RESTRAINT.’

One of the time-defying utterances of Gauthama Buddha is : ‘Believe in righteousness and not self-righteousness’. If Lord Rama and his Ram Sethu can be subjected to puerile and stale judicial questioning, then even Gauthama Buddha may have to face the same fate as Lord Rama in many of our Courts of Law. Here again, the advice of Justice William O. Douglas given in the course of Judgment delivered in 1947 becomes appositely relevant:

‘There is no special perquisite of the judiciary which enables it, as distinguished from other institutions of democratic Government, to suppress, edit or censor events which transpire in proceedings before it.’ Even while the Hindus of India have been shattered by the boisterously anti-Hindu sentiments displayed by the Supreme Court of India towards their religious feelings, yet at the same time they are also beholden to former Honourable Justice K. T. Thomas of the Supreme Court for coming out boldly with the message that ‘Ram Sethu should not be broken’. Justice K.T. Thomas has been hailed as a fearless and bold Judge, as a shining symbol of justice and independent judiciary. As a Supreme Court Judge, he brought to his work not only a first class mind, but a sense of form and values which is given by a broad and human culture which he inherited from his forefathers belonging to the age of Saint Thomas. As a Supreme Court Judge, he was ever vigilant to see and ensure that within the farthest limit permitted by Law, right was not worsted and wrong did not triumph.

He was hailed by the Bar for being firm, even handed and resolute in the handling of every case that came up before him. He can afford to be candid on vital issues, thanks to his spotless career. Let me now quote his bracing words on Ram Sethu spoken on behalf of all the people of India: ‘In projects like Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), decisions are to be based not only on a study of geological implications; the religious sentiments of the people are also to be taken into account. The religious sentiments of the people of Bharat must be honoured and there exists a tradition in this land, of honouring religious sentiments. So, it is my definite opinion that RAM SETHU must not be broken’. History tells us that Guru Nanak went to Rameshwaram and offered prayers to Lord Rama. This fact by itself may not be relevant to the deathless and immortal Judges of today’s Supreme Court.

And yet I have been greatly inspired by the verses in praise of Lord Rama in ADI SHRI Guru Granth Sahib. I am presenting below a few excerpts from the Chapter ‘Ram’ in the book ‘Adi Shri Guru Granth Sahib ki Mahima’ by Dr. K.K. Agrawal, published by Bharat-Bharati (Voice of India). ‘The story of Rama in the Granth Sahib ‘The name of God most often lauded in the GRANTH SAHIB, after that of Hari is Ram. Ram, Raja Ram, Raghunath and such other words occur approximately 2500 times in the Granth. In the Ramapurva Tapaneeya Upanishad, the various meanings of the word Rama are explained as follows: ‘Raajate vaa maheem sthitah san iti Raamah’ that is, he who is on the earth and fulfills the desires of his devotees and is hailed as a king, is Rama. In other words, when Sacchidanand or Mahavishnu or Shrihari incarnated in the home of Dasharatha in the family of Raghu, He was named Rama. At whose hands, Rakshasas are destroyed, He is Rama. Or He who renders the Rakshasas powerless in His human form, is Rama. By his ideal behaviour, He guides kings in the way of Dharma. The utterance of His name results in the attainment of the way of Jnana. He grants Vairagya when He is meditated upon. He grants prosperity when his image is worshipped. For these reasons did His name become famous on the earth as Rama. The Vedas say that in fact yogis dwell (Sanskrit: Ram-) in the endless, ever-joyous, self-absorbed Brahma state, and so Parabrahma Universal Soul (Paramatma) is itself described as the Rama state. Thus, although Brahma is self-absorbed, non-dual, undivided and devoid of the five-elemental body, it manifests as a conscious body in order to fulfil the Bhaktas’ desires. For love of the Bhaktas, the Nirakar (formless)’ ghaT ghaT ramaiya ramat rAm rAI gur sabde gur liv lAge (Page 172) (In every heart Rama is contained. Through the Gurus word, the love for God is contracted. ) rAm ramahu baRaBAgio jal thal mahiali soI nAnak nAmi arAdhi-ai bighanu na lAgai koi (Page 521) (O ye very fortunate ones, contemplate on Rama, who pervades the ocean, earth and sky. Nanak says, by meditating on the Name, no calamity befalls the mortal.) Our Courts of Law may be shocked to note that THE GRANTH SAHIB has displayed a fondness for referring to the play of Paramatma on this earth in terms of Rama-avatar and Raja Ram. ‘The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race.’—JUSTICE OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES (1841-1935). Our courts of law may perhaps dismiss this observation of Justice Holmes as irrelevant, communal, pseudo secular, non cosmopolitan and uncivilized.

V SUNDARAM | Wed, 30 Apr, 2008 , 04:33 PM
The Supreme Court of India is hearing the petitions filed by Shri Ramgopalji, President of Hindu Munnani and others challenging the decision of Government of India to demolish the Ram Sethu _ a timeless symbol of Hindu Culture and Hindu Religion—as part of its larger political plan of Sethusamudaram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP). Shri Ramgopalji in his petition has given valid and scientific reasons as to why Ram Sethu, as a World Heritage should be protected and should not be destroyed in the name of a Project called SSCP [Shamelessly Stupid Criminal Project! {combined conspiracy of Sonia Gandhi, T.R.Balu and Karunanidhi to destroy Ram Sethu forever} ]. According to Shri Ramgopalji, as in the days of Aurangazeb in the 17th Century, under the deliberately anti-Hindu and Islamic UPA Government, the Hindus are under a siege today.
I am presenting below the most relevant excerpts from his petition.
1. In their order dated 19.06.2007, the Hon'ble Chennai High Court, after recording the concerns put forward by the petitioner herein, had directed the respondent no. 3 i.e. Ministry of Culture to file its counter affidavit explaining whether any study has been undertaken by the Archaeological or any other concerned Department in respect of Rama Sethu and whether the said bridge can be regarded as National Monument within the meaning of the 1958 Act. But the respondent Ministry of Culture has not filed any affidavit before this Hon'ble Court, in compliance of the aforesaid directions.
2. That the Report of the Eminent Persons in two volumes is absolutely devoid of moral ethics, which should govern the search for truth. It is distressing that scientists and scholars can do so (using the public exchequer funds), which will adversely impact the levels of confidence the public repose on professionals and the levels of honesty which the public expect from such people.
3. That as noted on Page 89 (Report Vol II), the Committee of Eminent Persons had admitted that it had received huge volumes of materials upto 31 October 2007 and there were annexures running into almost 2000 pages and public hearing continued only for 7 seven days up to 6th November 2007 only in Chennai. Even though advertisements were issued in all national language dailies, submissions were requested only in English and hearings were not held even in the cities near the Project area. The hearings were closed and not open to the media. This procedure prevented from many members of the public and experts from making their submissions.
4. That the report shockingly indulges in selective dissemination of received submissions, culling out only submissions which support the case of the Respondents and which justify only the 6th alignment. There has been an absolute lack of transparency and honesty in dealing with the submissions in a rational and systematic manner. Given the enormity of the documentation submitted, it is surprising that within one month the Committee was able to evaluate all the submissions. In fact, the Committee's Terms of Reference DO NOT include such evaluation and such value-judgements by the Committee, the composition of which itself is biased including atheists and who had worked for the project thus compromising their integrity with conflict of interest.
5. That the Committee did NOT include experts from the areas of marine archaeology, navigation (mariners and merchant navy), national security, geology (GSI), oceanography (NIO), tsunami, trade unions or members of fishermen' federations. The warnings contained in the Nature magazine of 6 Sept. 2007 have just been ignored. These warnings are so serious related to an impending tsunami that may be more devastating than the 26 Dec. 2004 tsunami and in that possible event, the whole coastline of South India, involving property and lives of millions of people, will be put at risk.
6. That it is submitted that eminent scientists and experts have made submissions which have not been deliberated upon by the Committee. It is necessary that all the submissions made to the Committee to establish that the Committee has indulged in a command performance and taken only references which support the case of the Respondent. Requests for copies of the submissions have NOT been complied with so far. Even requests made under Right to Information Act made by several persons have not been acceded so far by the Respondent, Union of India.
7. That the list of materials supplied includes `Marine Geo-Physical Surveys' carried out for the proposed Sethu Samudram Navigational Channel (Feb. 2005) by NIOT _ 132 pages). This Report includes an evaluation by the Consultant of NIOT that there was human activity and that the lithologs of 10 bore wells indicate that rock layers were brought in from outside since they could not have been formed by the sea. Detailed Reports have also been given for example, by Dr. CSP Iyer, Dr. Parchure and Dr. Gopalakrishnan on geotectonics, geothermal activity, geoenvironment, oceanography and environmental impacts _ reports which scientifically question the reliability of the information provided power point presentation mentioned earlier; by Capt. Balakrishnan on navigation and naval security aspects, by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman providing to the Committee recommendations of Dr. SR Rao, eminent Marine Archaeologist of the Country, on implications of another tsunami based on studies of Prof. Tad S Murty and other scientists including the report in Nature Magazine of 6 Sept. 2007, the International Law of the Sea and International Obligations under World Heritage and Underwater Cultural Heritage Conventions of UNESCO to which India is a signatory. These expert submissions have a profound relevance in determining the viability of the project itself.
8. That the Report fails to record that in 1999 the Environmental Ministry refused to clear the project on environmental considerations and recommended that the project be scrapped.
9. That the Report also fails to note that 37 Srilankan Experts had submitted a Report after one-year's study and concluded, inter alia, that water supply to Jaffna and Rameshwaram will be adversely affected if dredging is carried out on Rama Setu.
10. That the Report also fails to note the opinions of scientists like Dr. Kannaiyan who was Chairman of the Environment Monitoring Committee for the Project and Dr. Gopalakrishnan, Dr. Badrinarayanan, Dr. Subramanian, who were Directors in Geological Survey of India who have reiterated that blasting or dredging activity in the project area will devastate the coastal reefs and aquatic wealth, apart from causing coastal erosions, mini-tsunamis triggered by fault-lines and geothermal activity.
11. That it is respectfully submitted that an illegality has been committed by not involving Geological Survey of India and National Institute of Oceanography, which are the expert body which can carry out the studies regarding marine archeology in this ocean project, an involvement mandated by law.
12. That under the project what has been put on stake is not merely Rama Sethu but the very foundations of national integrity and unity governed by clearly demarcated duties and responsibilities of public functionaries who have been empowered by the people through the Constitution. The affidavit is an assault on the basic structure of the Constitution, indulging in buck-passing and toying with peoples' sentiments. What is needed is not adjudication but justice, a polity governed by the rule of law and compassion for future generations by ensuring the integrity of the property and peoples lives along the coastline and national sovereignty.
13. That a prima facie illegality has been committed by not conducting archaeological study before inaugurating work on Alignment 6 for the mid-ocean Channel, an undertaking unprecedented in human history.
14. That In Paragraph 85 of the Respondent (Min. of Shipping) Affidavit and In Chapter 9 of the report, it is admitted that, " It has noted that no archaeological studies have been undertaken in the Ramasethu/Adam's Bridge area by Archaeological Survey of India.
15. That Since the Committee was engaged by the Union of India, it is the responsibility of the Union of India, in particular the Respondents Archaeological Survey of India and Ministry of Culture to own up with grace and ordinary honesty, their own appointee's that is, the Committee's Report.
16. That it is strange that the Union of India now disowns its own Committee's observations. The Respondent's affidavit notes in Paragraph 87: `Whereas the Committee of Eminent Persons has examined the available evidence and arrived at certain conclusions relating to the nature of the structure called Adam's Bridge/Ram Setu, issues of faith, except those in which historicity of an event is subject to adjudication, cannot be resolved by taking recourse to science or scientific evidence'. This averment, absurd by itself, directly contracts the views of the Committee contained on Page 111 (Committee's Report).
17. That a Perusal of the Counter affidavit shows that it indulges in suppressio veri and suggestio falsi with a string of misrepresentations, misleading statements and false averments.
Shri Ramgopalji as a Field Marshall of the Bharat Hindu Brigade has made it clear in his Petition that the Hindus of India do not have to get the prior permission of any Court of Law in India to practice and follow their ancient faith rooted in Sanatana Dharma. The Hindus of India are of the view that the Supreme Court has outraged the modesty and soul of Bharat Matha by questioning the historic glory of Lord Rama and the eternal sacredness of Ram Sethu in this context. I would like to invite the kind attention of our Supreme Court to the following excerpt from the judgment of Justice William O.Douglas (in United States vs. Ballard US 78, 1944): `Freedom of thought, which includes freedom of religious belief, is basic in a society of free men. It embraces the right to maintain theories of life and death and of the hereafter which are rank heresy to followers of the orthodox faiths. Heresy trials are foreign to our Constitution. Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs'. What is good for Christian USA, is equally good and relevant for Hindu India rooted in its ancient Hindu faith.
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) was profoundly moved to say this to an American audience in 1896: `Rama, the ancient idol of the heroic ages, the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, the ideal father, and above all, the ideal king, this Rama has been presented before us by the great sage Vâlmiki. No language can be purer, none chaster, none more beautiful and at the same time simpler than the language in which the great poet has depicted the life of Rama'. Unfortunately for the Hindus of India today, our Supreme Court today is capable of asking: "Who is Swami Vivekananda? What are his credentials to speak on Lord Rama?'

Thu, 01 May, 2008 , 02:34 PM (News Today): V. Sundaram (Update 4)
The Supreme Court of India which is hearing the arguments in respect of the case relating to the life and death spiritual and cultural war that is taking place between the Islam-embracing,
Christianity-coveting and Hindu-destroying UPA Government on the one hand (which is hell bent on somehow destroying Ram Sethu by hook or by crook) and the besieged and agitated but never say die Hindus of India on the other, should not fail to take due note of the submissions made by Shri Ramgopalji, President of Hindu Munnani in his pending petition before the Supreme Court to the following effect:‘That it is the submission of the Petitioners that matters of sentiment and tradition do not have to be submitted to mundane frameworks of historicity.
Mythology is essence of history – the very essence of peoples’ perceptions of their identity and world-view —and tradition is evidence. This identity and world-view constitute sentiments of millions of people worldwide in relation to Rama, Ramayana and Rama Setu which is a metaphor for the victory of good over evil, victory of dharma over a-dharma’. ‘That the bias and illegal procedures are evidenced by the fact that the Committee of Eminences have also failed to live up to their Terms of Reference and have not submitted the entire sets of over 8000 pages of submissions made to them covering over 160 topics’.
‘That the Committee’s observations bristles with contradictions as may be seen even from a preliminary reading. On Page 113, the Committee notes a submission regarding ancient human settlements dating to 18000 to 8000 years before present and at the same time states that this reported evidence has no relevance to events mentioned in the Ramayana. How could the Committee conclude so when they have not found it within their competence to date the events mentioned in the Ramayana?’
‘That it is also shocking that in Paragraph 88 of the Respondent’s Affidavit that the following authoritative statement has been made: ‘The Union of India is of the belief that it should not be called upon to respond to issues of faith, except in recognizing their existence’. This averment raises a fundamental constitutional issue, impacting the basic feature of the Constitution, the meaning of the word ‘Secular’ used in the Preamble (as amended). The word is translated in the Official Hindi version as ‘pantha nirapekshataa’ that is, neutrality as to different paths of belief systems’.
‘That Rama Setu issue as submitted by the Petitioners is based on tradition and sentiments of millions of people world-wide. This is reality, as real as the sacredness attached to Ganga or Himalayas (Amarnath or Kedarnath or Gangotri) or to the Mahakumbh held every 12 years. It is an emphatic reality of tradition that lakhs of pilgrims go to Rama Setu to make offerings to the ancestors (pitru tarpanam) on Ashadha Amavasya day, year after year and include this tirthasthaanam as part of the chaar dham (four sacred tirthasthaana) yatras’.
‘That Rama Setu is not a mere stone or body or cave of water as claimed by the respondent. It inheres the very essence of the identity of the nation as evidenced by the Survey of India logo: “Aasetu Himachalam” (meaning: from Setu to Himalayas), defining this bridge effectively as the southern boundary indicator. It also signifies the unity of the nation recollecting as received socio-cultural memory of the travels of Sri Rama from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka to win over a-dharmic forces, to create a channel cutting through Rama Setu. It will be an unpatriotic act impinging upon national sovereignty if the Historic waters of the Indira Gandhi-Sirimavo Bandaranaike declaration of 1974 is converted into an International Waters boundary by creating this channel exactly, just 3 kms. west of the medial line between India and Sri Lanka’.
‘That in paragraph 10.2 of the Committee’s Report while citing the examples of Suez Canal in Egypt and Panama Canal in Panama, there is a surprising failure to note the fact that the proposed mid-ocean channel passage (as opposed to Suez and Panama which are land-based canals) is unprecedented in the history of navigation anywhere in the world. No such mid-ocean channel passage has ever been created and bristles with problems of stability as noted by Sir A. Ramaswamy Mudaliar in their first post-independence Report of 1956 on navigation across Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait.
They clearly noted that the idea of cutting a channel passage through Rama Setu/Adam’s Bridge should be ABANDONED. Despite Madras HC directive to answer this observation of Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee, Union of India remains silent. What is left unstated in the submissions of the Respondent and the attached Committee Report is a tale of shocking misleading statements, indulging in suggestio falsi and suppressio veri, thus negating the very foundations of justice’.
‘That the fact that Gulf of Mannar is a Notified Marine National Park makes it a natural property as defined for World Heritage Sites under an international convention to which India is a signatory….The Rama Setu is the largest bridge in the ocean which has been used as a bridge linking India and Sri Lanka unlike the Great Barrier Reef of Australia which is called only a Reef. This aspect has not been taken into account by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Nor has the ASI submitted its response to this Hon’ble Court”.
‘That para 39 is misleading. While ASI had not done any archaeological study, it is misleading in the project report (NEERI) to declare that there was no archaeological site in the project area’. ‘That it is submitted that If Environment Ministry considered the project to be environmentally unacceptable in March 1999, the change of stand and situation in subsequent years is not explained and only self created by the respondents’. ‘That it is submitted that a research is carried by Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) that comes under the Department of Space, says the satellite images have revealed an “ancient bridge between India and Sri Lanka in Palk Strait’.
‘Its structure suggests that it may be man-made,…. It contradicts the affidavit of the Respondents’. As a freelance Hindu Journalist (very unfortunately a barbarous, illiterate, half-savage, superstitious, communal, non-secular, saffornized and condemned Hindu to boot!), I have received more than 10000 e-mails and letters from Hindus from different parts of India and all of them carry this basic common wailing message: ‘We are spiritually shocked and tortured by the patently anti-Hindu stance and posture of the Supreme Court of India. Why are the Judges of our Supreme Court so blatantly anti-Rama and anti-Ram Setu?’ In this context, for larger public enlightenment, I would like to present below one e-mail from Col. S.S.Rajan who is a highly decorated soldier of the Indian Army and who is very proud of being a great devotee of Lord Rama:
‘I, Colonel SS Rajan, a committed Hindu and a proud citizen of Bharathvarsh say that, Justice KG Balakrishnan, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and Justice RV Raveendran, the two learned judges on the Bench hearing the case pertaining to Ram Sethu, need to be ‘lauded’ for their temerity and audacity in questioning the faith of a billion Hindus in India and abroad; and for their arrogance in uttering, ‘Don’t say people go there and worship’, and for their utter contempt for Hindus, in asking, ‘Who says it (Ram Sethu) is a place of worship? Who goes to the middle of the sea to worship?’ It appears that the CJI of India and the other learned Judge of the Bench, have no clue what so ever, regarding the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Bharathvarsha and in their questioning the historicity and sacredness of Ram Sethu as a place of worship and pilgrimage, they have forfeited their moral right to hear the case any further’.
Karunanidhi’s right to question the engineering or other technical qualifications of Lord Rama would be treated as sacred and sacrosanct by all our Courts of Law. Likewise, the dubious, non-existent (and of course fraudulent!) Cambridge University educational qualifications of a Super Sonia Gandhi would be invested with irrevocable legal authority in perpetuity at the highest level. Even the tenuous law relating to the Recusal of Judges in India is vague, nebulous and unclear.
In America, on the other hand, the Law of Recusal is very clear and defined. U.S.Federal law requires the automatic disqualification of a Federal judge under certain circumstances. In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court held that ‘Disqualification is required if an objective observer would entertain reasonable questions about the judge’s impartiality. If a judge’s attitude or state of mind leads a detached observer to conclude that a fair and impartial hearing is unlikely, the judge must be disqualified.’ [Emphasis added]. Liteky v. U.S., 114 S.Ct. 1147, 1162 (1994).
American Courts have repeatedly held that positive proof of the partiality of a judge is not a requirement; the only requirement is the publicly perceived appearance of partiality. In Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 108 S.Ct. 2194 (1988) it was held by the Court that ‘what matters is not the reality of bias or prejudice but its appearance’.
Likewise in United States v. Balistrieri, 779 F.2d 1191 (7th Cir. 1985), the Court held that ‘Section 455(a) of the Judicial Code is directed against the appearance of partiality, whether or not the judge is actually biased. Section 455(a) of the Judicial Code is not intended to protect litigants from actual bias in their judge but rather to promote public confidence in the impartiality of the judicial process.
Section 455(a) requires a judge to recuse himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. It is important that the litigant should not only actually receive justice, but that he believes that he has received justice. Thus the final affirming and abiding principle is that a Justice must satisfy the appearance of Justice’.
In USA, every judge has a legal duty to disqualify himself even if there is no motion asking for his disqualification. I would like to end this tortuous story with a limerick:The Law our Supreme Court Judges know about Is property and Land.They know nothing about the sacred Ram Sethu Bridge under the sea.Why the cyclonic winds disturb it under the seas, Why the leaves are on the trees,Why honey is the food of bees, They do not understand!