NGT issues notice to Art of Living over Sri Sri’s comments

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued notice to the Art of Living (AoL) over its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s remarks last week against the green court’s statement pertaining to the AoL’s mega fest last year at Yamuna flood plains in Delhi.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was hearing a contempt of court application filed by environmentalist Manoj Mishra against Sri Sri Ravishankar’s comments made on April 20.

On April 20, after hearing of Sri Sri’s statement, the NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar slammed the AoL, asking if it has a sense of responsibility. Later in the day, Sri Sri tweeted: “The truth is that we have caused no damage to the Yamuna.”

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The tribunal will now hear the matter on May 9.

The petitioner pointed out that Sri Sri also blamed the government and the green court for permitting his organisation to hold the World Culture Festival here last year.

“Take appropriate action against Ravi Shankar — Chairman of Respondent Art of Living Foundation — for making the above mentioned statements, read with the annexed newspaper reports which on the face of it scandalises/tends to interfere with free and fair dispensation of justice by this tribunal,” Mishra pleaded in his application.

The AoL said it has received an “application” from the tribunal and denied reports that a “contempt notice” has been issued to it.

“We have just received an application from the NGT. There hasn’t been any contempt notice issued to us,” Sonia Madhoh from AoL told IANS.

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The tribunal had also questioned the spiritual leader’s sense of responsibility, after which he tweeted: “Those who say the Art of Living is irresponsible simply don’t know us or have gained a sense of humour.”

“The truth is we have caused no damage to the Yamuna. When lies are exposed, it is shocking,” he said.

Sri Sri Ravishankar added that the NGT-appointed committee had been “irresponsible and inconsistent” in its reports.

“From Rs 120 crore for wetlands to Rs 13 crore for flood plains. From permanent damage to 10 years,” he said.

A seven-member expert committee, headed by former Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shashi Shekhar had said it would take Rs 42.02 crore to monitor and a decade’s time for the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna flood plains from damages caused by the AoL’s mega festival.

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