The National Green Tribunal on Thursday surprised everyone when it appeared to take stern view of non-compliance by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to pay Rs 5 crore as fine imposed by it on Wednesday.
It threatened to revoke the permission granted for the World Culture Event if the Art of Living Foundation did not pay the fine by 4 pm on Thursday.
A determined Sri Sri told NDTV that the question of paying fine did not arise prompting the NGT to change its mind and extend the deadline by a day.
The NGT has now ‘made it clear’ to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art Of Living Foundation that it has time till today (Friday) to pay the fine and law will take its own course if it fails to do so.
“They still have time till tomorrow to deposit Rs 5 crore fine as environment compensation in compliance with the directions of the tribunal,” the Green Tribunal said on an application which said AOL has not paid the amount till today.
“If there is any breach of any condition, the matter will be taken up as and when required and law will take its own course,” NGT Chairperson Swatantar Kumar said.
Many felt the threat by the NGT appeared hollow as Sri Sri was simply too powerful for NGT to even contemplate acting against him.
The NGT had on Wednesday expressed its helplessness in banning the event, saying it was “fait accompli”.
It was evident when the tribunal refused to give an urgent hearing on a fresh plea seeking stay on the three-day event on the banks of river Yamuna today, alleging that AOL had not taken permissions from competent authority as directed by the tribunal.
“There is no urgency in it. You can file a proper application and point out the deficiencies in compliance with the directions of the tribunal. We will see if there is any breach or not as per the law,” the tribunal was quoted by PTI News.
The green panel also directed Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests to issue proper directions to the organisers of the event with regard to disposal of municipal solid waste and drinking water.
The counsel appearing for the DPCC informed the tribunal that as directed by it, a committee was already visiting the site and if necessary, directions will be issued.
The green tribunal, which found several environmental violations by the organisers, blamed the delay on the part of environmental activists in raising the issue before it which compelled it to grant permission for event.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the Supreme Court too refused to interfere with the order of the National Green Tribunal.
A farmer had approached the apex court seeking a stay on the global event being organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living from March 11-13.