The National Green Tribunal issued a notice to Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday after a contempt of court plea was moved against him for blaming the green tribunal for the damage done to Yamuna during the World Culture Festival in March 2016.
The spiritual guru had on April 18 stated that the NGT should be slapped with a fine for giving permission to the three-day event organised by the Art of Living. On Wednesday, a contempt petition was moved against him in the NGT.
“A notice has been issued to the Art of Living founder for his remarks against the tribunal. They would have to reply by May 9 when the matter comes up for hearing,” said Rahul Choudhary, the petitioner’s counsel who moved the contempt plea.
Art of Living, however, claimed that no notice was issued. Instead, a spokesperson claimed that the tribunal reprimanded the petitioner and adjourned the matter.
“No notice whatsoever has been issued by the NGT to Art of Living or Sri Sri. The matter has simply been adjourned to May 9,” said a statement issued by the foundation later in the day.
On April 18, Sri Sri had issued a statement saying: “If, at all, any fine has to be levied, it should be levied on the Central and State Governments and the NGT, itself, for giving the permission. If the Yamuna was so fragile and pure, they should have stopped the World Culture Festival at the very beginning.”
The tribunal’s bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had expressed its displeasure over the statements.
“It is shocking. You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever and wherever you want?” the NGT bench had stated after it was informed of Sri Sri’s statements on April 20.
On Wednesday, Manoj Misra convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan Manoj Misra moved a contempt of court plea in the NGT through his advocates. The plea sought action against the leader.
In the plea, Misra alleged that the founder of Art of Living was “in the habit” of making statements to “denigrate the dignity and status of this tribunal, which was an interference in fair dispensation of justice”.