Ravi Shankar had said the decision to fine Art of Living for allegedly causing damage to the Yamuna floodplains 'was politically motivated'
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday issued a notice to spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on a contempt application brought against him for attributing political motives to a ruling by the NGT.
The contempt plea brought by Manoj Misra, an environmental activist and convener of the non-profit Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, was based on a press statement made by Ravi Shankar.
In the statement published in The Times of India on 22 April, Ravi Shankar said the tribunal’s decision to fine his Art of Living (AOL) Foundation ₹ 5 crore for allegedly causing environmental damage to the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi “was politically motivated".
Counsel for Ravi Shankar submitted that the contempt plea was not maintainable as it was based on a statement made in a newspaper. Swatanter Kumar, chairperson of the NGT, still sought a reply from Ravi Shankar.
The green tribunal, in an order of 9 March, allowed the Art of Living Foundation to host an event dubbed the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplains. It ordered the foundation to pay ₹ 5 crore in compensation for the damage caused to the floodplains.
A sum of ₹ 25 lakh was paid by the foundation, but it defaulted on payment of the balance ₹ 4.75 crore. It sought to submit a bank guarantee instead; the NGT has reserved its order on the request.
Petitioner Misra also cited an article published by Caravan magazine in May which said the spiritual founder of AOL controlled ₹ 234 crore worth of assets, with ₹ 81 crore in latest revenue from the US, the UK and the Netherlands alone.
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