AoL accuses NGT panel of bias, seeks its reconstitution


New Delhi, May 30  The Art of Living (AoL) foundation headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Monday accused an expert committee formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) of bias and moved an application for its reconstitution.

After hearing preliminary arguments on AoL’s plea, the green court issued notice to environmentalist Manoj Misra, who had moved the tribunal against AoL, for his response.

“The Art of Living objects to the existing expert committee led by Sashi Shekhar, and including A.K. Gosain, Brij Gopal and C.R. Babu, who arrived at an arbitrary figure of Rs.120 crore based on a very brief and mere visual assessment without following the scientific process,” a statement issued by AoL’s chief spokesperson Sonia Madhok said.

Expressing doubts over the findings of the committee — appointed to examine the impact the World Culture Festival in March had on the ecologically fragile Yamuna floodplains — the AoL asserted: “The committee has pre-judged the issue and are under self-imposed pressure to justify that figure, creating a bias for itself.”

The NGT imposed an environment compensation of Rs.5 crore on AoL in March on the basis of a committee report.

Subsequently, the NGT formed a principal committee comprising officials of the environment ministry, National Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Water Resources Ministry, which is yet to submit its report.

The AoL has deposited just Rs25 Lakh of the compensation amount while the committee has so far not submitted its report despite repeated pulling up by the NGT.

The NGT will take up on August 2 arguments on a plea for contempt proceedings against the spiritual guru for his alleged statement terming the environment compensation as politically motivated.

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