Green Tribunal rejects Art of Living plea over paying compensation
The National Green Tribunal today junked the Art of Living's (AOL) plea seeking its nod to accept the environment compensation, slapped for damaging Yamuna's biodiversity, as bank guarantee instead of "payment of balance amount" of ₹ 4.75 crores.
The green panel also slapped a fine of ₹ 5,000 on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's AOL for filing such application which "lacks bonafide" and directed it to pay the remainder amount in one week.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar rapped the AOL foundation for not depositing the amount despite assurance granted to the tribunal.
The green panel on March 9 had refused to prohibit the three-days 'World Culture Festival', held by AOL between March 11 and 13, but slapped a fine of ₹ 5 crore on the foundation for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna.
Later on March 11, AOL had moved a plea seeking four weeks time for depositing the amount after which the tribunal allowed the foundation to deposit Rs 25 lakh on that day and granted three weeks time period to pay the balance amount.
"The applicant submits that the present application is being filed for modification of the order dated March 9 and March 11 to allow for submission for security by way of a bank guarantee in lieu of payment of balance amount as directed.
"The applicant is in the process of preparing proposal laying down process/methodology for collection of scientific data/evidence regarding assessment of actual environmental damage, if any, and hopes to persuade that the damage is neither permanent nor irreversible but, in fact, remediable and respectfully seeks an opportunity to demonstrate that the allegations levelled against it are completely without foundation and the reports submitted by expert committees which form the basis of previous orders were predominantly based on visual examination of the site rather than a detailed scientific assessment which, in any event, was not possible due to paucity of time," the plea had said.
AOL had also sought to submit a proposal for laying down methodology for collection of scientific data regarding the assessment of actual environmental damage and requested the tribunal to grant 45 days for the same.