Breaking| Is It For Court To Do, These Are Administrative Matters: SC While Refusing To Entertain PIL Seeking Declaration Of Ram Setu As A National Monument
The Supreme Court declined to entertain a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions for the construction of a wall at Sri Ram Setu and urging the Union of India to declare Sri Ram Setu as a national monument.
The Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia while refusing to entertain the PIL said that these are administrative matters that fall under the government's purview. "Is it for the Court to do? These are administrative matters for the government... how can the court get into it?", remarked Justice Kaul.
The Bench further questioned the feasibility of constructing a wall on both sides and whether it is appropriate for the Court to intervene in such matters. The Bench made it clear that they were not inclined to exercise jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India to issue the directions sought by the petitioner.
The Bench also refused to tag the Petition with the PIL filed by former Rajya Sabha lawmaker Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the Centre to declare the Ram Sethu a national heritage monument.
Accordingly, the Court ordered, "We are not inclined to exercise jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India to give any directions of the nature which the Petitioner seeks."
The Petitioner organization, Hindu Personal Law Board (HPLB) through its President Ashok Pandey had approached the Court with a plea to allow the building of a wall that would make the iconic bridge, known as Sri Ram Setu, accessible for darshan (sacred viewing) by human beings and all living creatures. The Petition submitted that the darshan of Sri Ram Setu is believed to guarantee moksha (spiritual liberation) and holds immense significance for Hindus.
The HPLB, in the PIL, highlighted the previous initiatives undertaken between 2004 and 2014, during which the Sri Ram Setu faced potential alterations and dredging efforts terming them as "anti-national" and "anti-Hindu." The PIL further alleged that the government has not taken sufficient steps to facilitate the darshan of Sri Ram Setu.
"The political leaders ruling the country during 2004 to 2014 were so Anti-national and Anti Hindu that they went to the site of Ram Setu to flag off the dredging machine entrusted with work to Bulldogge Sri Ram Setu. The government of Bharat under the leadership of Antonia Maino Gandhi and Manmohan Singh dared to order for bulldozing of that Ram Setu about which Ram himself says through Sri Ram Charit Manas “Mum Krit Setu Jo Darshan Karahin, So Binu Shram Bhav Sagar Tarhin” which mean that all the persons who will see the Setu got constructed by me, will get the Moksha", reads the PIL.
It was also submitted in the PIL that the management of Darshan of Nalahin Setu by the government is capable of generating huge funds for the government by use of which it can undertake many projects which are pending due to a shortage of funds. Additionally, the PIL highlights that Sri Ram Setu is a national monument as per the definition of “national monument” as defined in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites & Remains Act 1958 which deals with national monuments.
The Petitioner envisions that if the Setu becomes open to the public, it will fulfil the desires of countless individuals to walk, sit, and sleep on the bridge that Lord Ram and his army used to reach Lanka and establish Ram Raj.
The Petitioner had sought the following directions: 1. To construct a wall at the Sri Ram Setu site in the sea, extending for a few meters and, if feasible, for a kilometre. This construction is intended to make the bridge, known as Sri Ram Setu, accessible for darshan by humans and all other living creatures of God 2. To issue a directive to the respondents, mandating the declaration of Sri Ram Setu/Nalahin Setu/Setu Bandh as a national monument.
Cause Title: Hindu Personal Law Board v. Union Of India & Ors. [Diary No. 12741-2023]