Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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Consider ASI probe to declare Rama Setu monument: SC to Centre The Sethusamudram project controversy took a new turn with Supreme Court asking the Centre to consider holding archaeological survey to ascertain whether "Rama Setu" can be declared 'ancient monument' and possibility explored for pushing the venture through other alignments. "There is a specific direction of the Madras High Court that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) should carry investigations whether Rama Setu is an ancient monument or not," a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said on Thursday. The Bench said that Janata Party President Subramanium Swamy and senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, while opposing the demolition of "Rama Setu", have put "serious" arguments for conducting ASI probe and for carrying the project through other alignments. "You also explore the possibility of carrying out the project through any other channels (alignments)," the Bench, also comprising Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal, said. The Bench said in the interregnum when the matter will be taken for further hearing on 22nd July, the Centre can consider these two aspects as directed by the High Court on 19th June last year. Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, who is appearing for the Centre to defend the controversial project, responded positively to the court's view. Swamy, Vaidyanathan and others while putting arguments against the demolition of the "Rama Setu", have contended that there was a possibility of going ahead with the project through alternative alignments which will be economically more viable and cause no damage to environment besides protecting the religious faith of Hindus who considers the structure as sacred. Swamy, who has filed the petition for declaring "Rama Setu" as protected monument, had alleged that the expert committee of eminent persons appointed by the government to review the project, resisted ASI probe that the structure was man-made. While the senior politician was questioning the report of the Committee, the bench said his prayer in the petition was only confined to the Rama Setu but he was arguing on entire Sethusamudram project. At this Swamy said "if I prove that the project is illegal then the Rama Setu will be protected". He said he will stop if the Centre will be forthcoming to say that Rama Setu will be protected. The Janata Party chief said he was touching other aspects of the project as the entire economics projected in the scheme was "fraud" and public money was being misused and public was being misled. Further India has failed to comply with international obligation on the project by not taking Sri Lankan government into confidence as the scheme has implications on the maritime boundary, he said. He said authorities in Sri Lanka are watching the outcome of the proceedings in the apex court in New Delhi and Colombo may drag India to International Court of Justice, Hague seeking independent probe about the environmental impact of the project. The 34-member advisory committee group constituted by the Sri Lankan government has concluded that environment impact assessment by India on the Sethusamudram project was inadequate, he claimed. Swamy said Rama Setu controversy has impact on Sri Lanka as it shares the same culture and religious belief relating to Lord Rama and Ramayana. "Sri Lanka is also of the view that Rama Setu should not be broken," he said adding that it would be advisable that a stage should not arrive that the neighbouring nation goes to international court of justice under the UN law. He said the project through alignment number 6 (Rama Setu) was also a concern for national security and the threat has been anticipated by the Chief of the Coastal Guard recently. However, the Centre which after withdrawing two controversial affidavit questioning the existence of Lord Rama, Ramayana and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge, has sought clearance for going ahead with the project on the same alignment, saying issues of faith cannot be resolved through scientific evidence. The Centre in the fresh affidavit has said a committee of eminent persons appointed on 5th October, 2007 re-examined the entire project, including the six possible alignments, to conclude that alignment no. 6 (Rama Setu) was the "best alternative" and to alter channel alignment at this stage would be "infeasible" as it would lead to huge losses to the public exchequer. "Alignment no. 6 (Rama Setu) is backed by sound environmental, navigational, engineering and trans-boundary considerations. "Therefore, the assertion that the alignment has been arbitrarily resorted to and other viable alternatives have been deliberately left out for malafide reasons is wrong and baseless," the affidavit had said, seeking vacation of apex court's interim orders directing not to damage the Rama Setu.
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