In a major blow to the Art of Living Foundation, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday rejected its plea to pay the compensation of Rs 4.75 crore by bank guarantee, for the violation of environment norms during a cultural event organised by the Foundation in March 2016.
The AOLF, in its application had stated that it is in the process of preparing a proposal laying down parameters/methodology for collection of scientific data/evidence regarding assessment of actual environmental damage, if any, and hopes to persuade NGT that, "damage, if any, is neither permanent nor irreversible but in fact remediable".
The NGT stated that the AOLF lacks bonafide as it did stay on its commitment to pay the fine. The tribunal said the AOLF has been engaging in multiple litigations in order to not pay the fine.
On 9 March, the NGT had refused to prohibit the World Culture Festival on the bank of Yamuna, but slapped a fine of Rs 5 crore on the Foundation for damaging the biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive Yamuna floodplains.
On 10 May, the Foundation had issued a clarification over a NGT notice to its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his alleged remarks against the green panel, saying the allegations against the spiritual leader were "completely false" and based merely on "newspaper reports".
The NGT issued a notice to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his alleged remarks, that the fine imposed by the green panel for organising an event on the banks of river Yamuna was politically motivated.
The NGT had asked why should not contempt of court proceedings be initiated against him and directed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to file a reply to it latest by 25 May.
-With agency inputs