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Ram Sethu: SC for politically viable solution

July 23, 2008 19:28 IST

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday favoured exploring the possibility of scientifically and "politically" viable solution to the controversial Sethusamudram project but the Centre questioned the religious grounds being raked up to block the venture.

Attacking the opponents of the project for raising matters of religion and faith to oppose it, senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the Centre, said those who have relied on scriptures of faith in their attempt to block the venture should also consider other aspects of faith.

He referred to Kamba Ramayana and Padma Purana to draw a point that Lord Rama himself had destroyed the Rama Sethu so that nobody should come from Lanka.

"Lord Rama destroyed the bridge and details are there in the scriptures. You cannot worship something which has been destroyed," Nariman asserted before a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.

The senior advocate, who was countering the arguments of anti-project petitioners, said that destruction of Rama Sethu would affect the faith of people, said "we are not destroying any bridge. Everything on the project is being done with great circumspection".

"If we have gone wrong we will correct it. The idea is to go ahead with the project. We have to see there is no violation of law," the noted jurist said.

Though the Bench clarified that at the moment it was averse to entering into any debate whether Rama Sethu or Adams Bridge was man-made or not, Nariman said "if you are going to rely on faith, go into other aspects of the faith also."

Nariman said that those who for centuries and years never bothered to declare Rama Sethu as monument of archaeological importance should know that according to Kamba Ramayana Lord Rama took a bow and broke the bridge and divided it into three parts.

"We are concerned that it was not a man-made structure but it was a superman-made strcuture which was destroyed by Lord Rama," he said before the Bench, also comprising Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal.

The senior advocate said the controversial affidavits questioning the existence of Ramayana and Ram Sethu as man-made structure was withdrawn under extraneous circumstances.

Before Nariman had entered into the issue of destruction of the bridge by Lord Rama, the Bench wanted that the Centre should explore the possibility of accommodating faith with environment concern to arrive at a balanced solution.

 "A scientifically, technically and politically feasible alternate alignment can be considered", the Bench said adding that the economic aspects should also be kept in mind as dredging activity was a continuous process.

Nariman, who replied in positive to the Bench's remarks that issue of faith has to be accommodated in going ahead with the project, however, was not in agreement with the opponents that alignment number 4 (from Rameswaram to Dhanushkodi) was a viable alternative.

"The suggestion to go for alignment 4 is a self-defeating argument. Alignment number 4 has been suggested as an alternative. If it will be so, there will be no way to go to worship near alignment number 6 (Rama Sethu)," he said.

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