Damage to Yamuna floodplains: Notice to AOL on contempt plea
The National green tribunal issued contempt notices to Sri Sri Ravishankar's Art Of Living and the Delhi development authority on Thursday. The notices were issued after a contempt petition was moved against the spiritual leader for holding the union government and green panel responsible for the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains.
A plea was filed by activist Manoj Misra seeking action against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The petition claimed that the statement made by the Art of Living founder 'interfered with the free and fair dispensation of justice'. NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar who heard the petition on Thursday issued contempt notices to AOL. The Delhi Development Authority was also made a party to the plea and hence has been issued with a contempt notice as well.
An expert panel told the NGT that AOL had caused damage to the Yamuna floodplains during their world culture festival. The panel had also claimed that Rs 42 crore would be required to restore the ravaged floodplains. Soon after the report became public, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had blamed the government and the NGT for permitting AOL. He also added that his foundation AOL had obtained all necessary permissions, including from the green panel, and the event could have been stopped in the beginning itself if the river was so "fragile and pure".
'No notice issued to us' says AOL
Following reports of the NGT sending contempt notices to Art of Living, the foundation denied receiving any such notice. In a statement released on Thursday evening, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's foundation said that the petitioner, in fact, was 'verbally reprimanded for going to the media even before filing his application.'
"Today, no contempt notice whatsoever has been issued by the NGT to AOL or Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Media reports to the contrary are absolutely false, baseless and factually incorrect. The matter has simply been adjourned to 9th May 2017," read a statement issued by Art Of Living.
The statement also denied making any 'disrespectful statements' or 'committing any contempt'. "We respect the Judiciary and have faith that truth shall prevail. We have never said anything disrespectful nor have we committed any contempt. This
is nothing but a futile attempt to delay the hearing on merits. The
Petitioner knows that he has no case on merits. He is, therefore, attempting to take attention away from the crux of the matter to irrelevant issues," the statement said.