Go to NGT, SC tells petitioner against holding of World Cultural Festival

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking to block the holding of the three-day World Cultural Festival by the Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living Foundation on the banks of River Yamuna commencing from Friday.

Asking PIL petitioner Anil Kumar to approach the NGT as it was a specialised forum to address the issue, the apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, refused to hear the plea mentioned by a counsel in the post-lunch sitting of the court.

Contending that there was violation of rules and regulations in the grant of permission, the PIL petitioner assailed the NGT for not restraining the Art of Living Foundation from holding the three-day mega event thereby “endangering the life of people and cultivators”.

The petitioner sought direction to the Centre to restrain the Art of Living International from going ahead with the holding of the World Cultural Festival on the banks of river Yamuna citing environmental concerns.

The petitioner sought direction to the Centre, DDA, Ministry of Environment and Forests and other agencies, including Delhi Police, to be held accountable for the heavy loss to the public at large and damage to the natural ecological system and impose heavy penalty on them.

The PIL pointed out that the organisers of the mega show have raised “illegal construction without permission and thereby damaged the sensitive ecological system”. It said the government agencies have failed to take any coercive action against the organisers of the events.

Referring to the NGT order which said that the river’s flood plain has been drastically tampered with while destroying natural flow of the river, reeds, grasses, and natural vegetation on the river bed, the PIL said that Art of Living Foundation has for its vested interests “destroyed the ecological system of Delhi”.

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