Art of Living loses appeal in NGT, must pay Rs 4.75 crore fine within a week


In a huge setback to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living, the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday rejected its appeal requesting to constitute a fresh panel to inspect the site on Yamuna banks, where the World Culture Festival was held.

The organisation has been ordered to pay fine the remaining fine of Rs 4.75 crore within a week.

The top environmental court had in February imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on the AOL after it emerged that Sri Sri’s organisation had flouted norms while organising the event.

On 20 February, an expert committee of the green court had recommended slapping a fine of Rs 120-crore compensation fee for the environmental impact caused to the floodplain of Yamuna.

The AOL then argued that they were unable to pay the fine because of it being a non-governmental organisation, the NGT then imposed an interim compensation of Rs 5 crore.

Sri Sri had refused to pay fine threatening to go to jail.

On 9 March, however, the AOL paid Rs 25 lakh promising to pay the remaining fine within three weeks. But, it did not honour its commitment inviting widespread criticism on social media platforms, where the users took a dig at both Sri Sri and the green court mocking the soft treatment given to the spiritual Guru despite his perceived disdain for the rule of law.

According to Indian Express, on Monday the AOL said that it would furnish a bank guarantee. The bench replied, “Keep your bank guarantee.”

The NGT, according to an NDTV report, said that the AOL had”used the order of the court to hold the event and then went back on its commitment,” adding that the organizes have tried multiple legal cases “in order not to pay the fine” as a result of which the “conduct of the foundation has been called into question.”