Allegations By Environmentalist Manoj Misra Are Baseless, Says Art Of Living

26/05/2016 10:21 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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BHOPAL, INDIA - NOVEMBER 22: Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addresses media on November 22, 2015 in Bhopal, India. Ravi Shankar said that there should be intolerance against rising pollution and injustice. On Paris terror attack, he also said that “India has been suffering due to terrorism since long, but the Western countries were unable to accept it.” (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Hearing petitions accusing the Art of Living foundation of violating the green court's order and its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reportedly saying political motive behind the fine imposed for hosting the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplain, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) court on Wednesday adjourned the matter to 2 August.

The court, meanwhile, asked the expert committee to file within two weeks a report on the impact of The Art of Living's World Culture Festival on Yamuna floodplains.

Though the Art of Living was prepared with the replies to applications on "enzymes" and alleged statements by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to some media, the NGT had been given three more days to file its replies, said a statement issued by The Art of Living.

The issue regarding the power of the tribunal to entertain an application for contempt was very briefly discussed, it said, adding that the tribunal has not recorded any finding on this question.

Its statement said the allegation by environmentalist Manoj Misra regarding Sri Sri's comment on the NGT are baseless, and the petition was based on unverified newspaper reports.

The Art of Living claimed that it got the video of the speech that clearly shows that no such comment was made by Sri Sri.

"It was yet another mala fide attempt by Misra to malign and tarnish his image by false claims," said the statement.

Held in March, the World Culture Festival sparked a controversy, with the foundation being accused of causing extensive damage to the eco-sensitive floodplain and the river while building the stage for the three-day extravaganza.

The tribunal asked the foundation to pay Rs 5 crore as environment compensation charge before giving the go-ahead to the festival. Several cases related to the event are being heard by the green court.

The NGT on 10 May asked Ravi Shankar to reply to a plea by environmentalists Misra and Anand Arya accusing him of describing as "politically motivated" the tribunal order asking the foundation to pay Rs. 5 crore.

The applicants have sought action against Ravi Shankar for "scandalising the tribunal", said.

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