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The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea of Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking scrapping of the expert committee on Sethumamudram Shipping Canal project alleging it had biased leanings.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice R V Raveendran and Justice Dalveer Bhandari said, “ we are not going to interfere in the committee as it is not a committee appointed pursuant to our order.”

The court, however, said that objections, if any, could be filed against the report of the committee.

Swamy mentioned his application seeking reconstitution of the expert committee constituted by the Centre alleging its biased leanings. He alleged that the “Committee of Eminent Persons” constituted by the Centre was a rigged committee and biased.

However, the Bench said “the committee was not appointed pursuant to our order”.
“Let it gives its report. You can file your objections,” court said.

Swamy complained that the Committee, which will commence its proceeding from October 29, was not providing him the necessary documents, making it difficult for him to appear before it.

“They are going back on the promise to provide the documents,” he alleged. However, the Bench said no such assurance was given to the court.

At this, Swamy said does it mean that the committee has no significance for the court.

“We are not saying anything. Let the committee give its report,” the Bench said. Swamy in his application had said that the committee constituted on October 5 by the Centre was “vitiated by non-inclusion of certain expertise which is essential to address the criticisms that had compelled the Government to keep the project on hold.”

Prof S Ramachandran, Chairman of the Monitoring Committee on Environmental Impact Issues for the Sethusamudarm Shipping Channel Project and V-C of Madras University, is the convenor of the expert committee. It also includes S R Wate, Deputy Director of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur; R K Jain, Managing Director of Indian Ports Association and Member Secretary; and M Sakthivel, president of Aqua Culture Foundation.

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