The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to reply to an application that said he called the tribunal’s orders “politically motivated”.
Environmentalists Manoj Misra and Anand Arya alleged in their applications that the spiritual leader said the order directing the foundation to pay `5 crore as environment compensation for holding a cultural festival on the banks of Yamuna was ‘politically motivated’.
A second application alleged the foundation members continued to pour bio enzymes in the river, despite orders against it.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar asked Ravi Shankar and the foundation to file a reply within two weeks.
The foundation and its founder came into the spotlight earlier this year when a legal battle over a mega cultural festival that the foundation organised on the ecologically fragile banks of Yamuna ensued. The festival was held only after the Art of Living Foundation paid a partial environment compensation of `25 lakh on the orders of the tribunal.
The foundation was ordered to pay `5 crore before the festival on March 11, but they requested the tribunal to accept `25 lakh initially. The foundation is yet to pay the remaining amount.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the lawyers for the applicants said that action should be taken against Ravi Shankar for ‘scandalising the Tribunal’.
The Art of Living Foundation, however, said that Ravi Shankar did not make any such statement.
The next date of hearing is May 25.