Art of Living’s plea to pay compensation by bank guarantee rejected by NGT

Art of Living (AOL) was levied with a fine of Rs 5 crores for violation of environments norms by National Green Tribunal during the cultural program that was held in Delhi from March 11 to March13, 2016. Art of Living wanted NGT to accept this compensation as bank guarantee. Now, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has rejected their plea.

AOL has to pay the left over Rs. 4.75 crore of compensation under the section 15 and 17. AOL said that “We don’t agree with the observations of the Tribunal. The Art of Living has neither polluted air, water or earth. We have left the WCF site in a better condition than what we had got. We have an extensive repertoire for environment work and find these allegations unacceptable.”

NGT said that “AOL used the order of the court and then went back on its commitment”. It also added that the organization used multiple legal cases in order not to pay the fine. Due to all this “the conduct of the organization came into question.”

AOL was not stopped from doing the cultural program but was levied a penalty for damaging aquatic life of Yamuna. AOL asked for time of four weeks to pay this penalty. NGT asked the organization to pay Rs. 25 lakhs on the same day and gave three weeks to pay rest of the amount.

The plea of AOL was “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.”

NGT said “You can be rest assured that we will not change the expert committee, we may consider adding two more members.” In another statement NGT told AOL “Your conscience should be clear, let people say what they want to. You fulfil your obligations.”

The green panel has also levied a fine of Rs 5,000 on AOL for filing such application which lacks bonafide and ordered it to pay the remainder amount in one week.

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