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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living gets contempt notice from NGT
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a notice to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on a contempt plea against him.

The contempt plea filed against Art of Living (AOL) founder is for holding the Centre and the NGT responsible for the massive damage that his NGO had caused by holding a mega so-called 'cultural' extravaganza there.

The plea against the 'spiritual figure' Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the NGT was filed by Yamuna activist Manoj Misra. The matter is listed for hearing on Friday before a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.

Misra has sought action against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and said his statement interfered with free and fair dispensation of justice.

Justice Kumar issued a "Notice to the respondent" and has sought his reply before May 9, the next date of hearing.

However, Art of Living (AOL) spokesperson and legal adviser Kedar Desai said, "No such order has been passed. It is factually incorrect to report that any notice has been issued. The matter has been simply adjourned to May 9."

The AOL had held a World Cultural Festival on the Yamuna floodplains from 11 March 2016 to 13 March 2016. The event was held to celebrate 35 years of its 'service'.

When criticised for damaging the Yamuna river bed beyond the point of repair, the spiritual guru blamed the government and the NGT for granting permission to AOL to hold the function.

He also said that his foundation had obtained all necessary permissions and that if the river was so 'fragile and pure', the authorities could have stopped the event in the beginning itself.

The NGT had earlier slammed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's statements and termed them as ones without responsibility.

"You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?," the NGT bench asked, setting the next date of hearing to May 9.

A committee led by experts has noted that cultural extravaganza organised by Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AOL) has extensively damaged Yamuna floodplains and its rehabilitation will cost Rs 13.29 crore and take at least 10 years.

In the meanwhile, AOL contacted Merinews.com and issued an official statement explaining their side of the story which is produced below:

*Statement from the Art of Living*

"Mr. Manoj Mishra was verbally reprimanded for going to the media before
even filing his Application (which Application according to us is baseless
and frivolous).

Today, no contempt notice whatsoever has been issued by the NGT to AOL or
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Media reports to the contrary are absolutely
false, baseless and factually incorrect. The matter has simply been
adjourned to 9th May 2017.

We respect the Judiciary and have faith that truth shall prevail. We have
never said anything disrespectful nor have we committed any contempt. This
is nothing but a futile attempt to delay the hearing on merits. The
Petitioner knows that he has no case on merits. He is therefore attempting
to take attention away from the crux of the matter to irrelevant issues.
The Petitioner is not at all interested in the welfare of the Yamuna. His
sole motive is to attempt to tarnish the reputation of one of the most well
respected organizations in the World.

This is the second time we have been misrepresented. Last time as well the
court never even once mentioned the name of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as
reported by some media. In fact the court turned down every request put up
by petitioner Manoj Mishra.

We call upon the media houses that have wrongly reported that a contempt
notice has been issued to please produce the Order (of the Hon'ble NGT) on
the basis of which they have published such a statement."


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