With the Centre being hesitant on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s petition to designate Ram Setu as a national heritage site and announcing only on Thursday that “the process is on,” the Supreme Court has requested an update on the progress of the procedure.
Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General, informed a court presided over by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud that the procedure is “now underway in the Ministry of Culture, and if the petitioner so desires, he may also submit any other material or communication as he may choose…”
The bench recorded Mehta’s statement and said, “the court may be apprised of the conclusion of the procedure and the decision, if any, reached thereon.”
Initially, the bench stated to Swamy, “We would ordinarily have them analyse it as the initial step. If they evaluate it and pass an arbitrary order, it is open to judicial scrutiny if you want a specific monument or location designated a national monument. Therefore, we could record that you intend to submit a request to the relevant authority and the SG’s assertion that a decision will be rendered on your request.
However, Swamy remarked, “May I request the SG to review the records? At the conclusion of 2019, the minister…invited me to a meeting with all of the officials from all of the affiliated departments. I was familiar with Prahlad Patel, who was involved in the investigation and preparation of the case files. He is obviously the same party. He informed me that he had submitted the recommendation and that the paperwork had been sent to the Prime Minister. And the next thing we knew, Prahlad Patel had been transferred… The subject was examined in depth. Your Lordship observed at the outset, “Why are you dragging your feet?” This is all that has transpired. The question is either yes or no.
The response from Mehta was, “Some procedure is occurring.” “If what my knowledgeable friend says is accurate, and I have no reason not to believe him, then that will also be a part of the procedure,” he stated.
Although Mehta stated that Swamy might submit a request to the government if he so desired, the BJP leader replied that he had already submitted multiple requests. “Why should I bother…?” I applied for numerous positions. I’ve submitted a request to the court. He stated that the court issued the order.
Swamy suggested that the administration set a deadline and make a decision. In addition, he requested that the Centre appoint a minister to meet with him, stating that “they have not responded to any of my previous communications.” Mehta, on the other hand, said that the applicant should be free to meet anybody he deems fit, as opposed to the government appointing a representative.
Swamy stated that the topic is mentioned in the BJP’s manifesto, adding that “they are in violation of the manifesto.” He continued, “I will provide a brief letter. Please make a decision today, tomorrow, within six weeks, or whenever…”
Swamy stated that he would return to court if the Centre did not make a decision within a specified time frame.