Thursday, May 1, 2008

Supreme Court adjourns Sethusamudram Hearing. To hear arguments today

New Delhi, Apr 30 (ANI): The Supreme Court today adjourned the hearing on the controversial Sethusamudram project following confusion that the matter will be heard on May 1.

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 about the hearing date.

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 Hindu Reports:

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.

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.

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