Rama Setu: Centre’s stand contradictory, says Swamy
Legal Correspondent (The Hindu, 5 Nov. 2008)
New Delhi: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has questioned in the Supreme Court the Centre’s stand that Ramar Sethu is not an integral part of Hindu religion.
In his fresh written submissions in the Sethusamudram case, he said the revised stand of the Centre, in its submissions filed on October 12, “has no basis either in fact or in law.” He refuted the averment that the “petitioners have not proved that Ramar Sethu is an integral or essential part of the Hindu religion to attract Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.”
Dr. Swamy said: “The Union of India has taken contradictory and differing positions in various affidavits filed during the course of the proceedings, attributing each position to various Hindu texts without sourcing it to any credible religious scholar but based on dubious unauthoritative translations.”
These contradictions indicated that the government was not in a position to answer the question whether Ramar Sethu was qualified to be regarded as an integral part of the Hindu religion or to be designated as an ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. “A Hindu will consider as an integral part of his or her religion that which would make his spiritual life incomplete if it is not prayed at or to at least once in his or her lifetime.”
On the Centre’s submission that Lord Rama himself had destroyed Sethu, Dr. Swamy said: “It is irrelevant to adduce this argument even if this interpretation of counsel is based on one of the sources quoted by one of the petitioners. What is necessary is that the interpretation or inference must be based on an authorised, scholarly, unimpeachable translation from the original Sanskrit language text.”
The averment by the Sethusamudram Corporation that it was “contemplating provision of a viewing gallery along the [shipping] channel alignment demolishes the stand of counsel, especially the averment that Ramar Sethu is not an integral part of Hindu religion.”
Dr. Swamy said the administrative decision-making process in choosing Alignment 6, if implemented, would be illegal and arbitrary. Hence the decision to pursue Alignment 6, entailing a rupture in Ramar Sethu, should be judicially invalidated. The court has already reserved verdict in this case.