Why have you come now: SC dismisses plea to stop World Culture Festival

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2016 18:01 IST
Preparation work being carried out for World Cultural Festival event promoted by Art of Living run by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on the banks of Yamuna in New Delhi, India, on Thursday. (Sushil Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court refused to entertain on Thursday a petition against the World Culture Festival, a day after the National Green Tribunal cleared the controversial three-day event in spite of fears of damage to the sensitive Yamuna floodplain.

“This preparation is going on for a long time. Why have you come now? Why don’t you go to the NGT,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur asked petitioner Bhartiya Kisan Mazdoor Samiti.

Questioning the motive behind filing of such a petition at the eleventh hour, the bench said: “So you seek publicity out of it?” It asked the petitioner to go to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The event organised by Art Of Living Foundation led by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the Yamuna floodplain opens Friday and will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The petition alleged that no requisite permissions have been granted by various authorities concerned to this proposed event.

The NGT on Wednesday expressed its helplessness in banning the event but imposed a fine of Rs five crores on AOL as environmental compensation. It criticised the foundation for not disclosing its full plans and also the DDA and environment ministry for their role.

It found several environmental violations committed by the organisers and said the delay by environmental activists in approaching the NGT was responsible for compelling the green court in granting permission for event.

The Delhi High Court too had on Wednesday described the event, from whose valedictory function the President has already pulled out, as a “disaster” from the ecological point of view.

However, Ravi Shankar said on Thursday that he would prefer to go to jail than paying the fine.

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