NGT rejects AOL appeal on bank guarantee as fine

NGT rejects AOL appeal on bank guarantee as fine

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday rejected Art of Living’s (AOL) plea that it should not be forced to pay an environment compensation of Rs 4.75 crore in cash.

The AOL instead sought treating the bank guarantee as fine.

It also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s AOL for filing a plea which “lacks bonafide” and directed it to pay in a week the balance for damaging Yamuna’s biodiversity. A bench, headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, rapped AOL for not depositing the amount despite the assurance it made to the tribunal.

During the hearing, AOL Foundation said media houses tried to “tarnish” its image by “wrongly” mentioning the environment compensation imposed on it as “penalty” or “fine”, thus showing AOL in bad light.

To this, the bench said, “First discharge your obligations and then make allegations. You (AOL) always try to find a way out. One of your trustees made a statement before us that the foundation would deposit the amount in three weeks and now you want extension of time. This is totally unacceptable.

“We had asked the expert committee to visit your site on Yamuna floodplains.

 Now, you have moved an application alleging bias. You cannot make allegations and accusations against everybody and anybody,” the bench said. Meanwhile, the foundation reacted to the tribunal’s order saying it was “unjust” and may appeal against it. “Art of Living had moved an application for furnishing a bank guarantee of the balance compensation amount which has been dismissed by the NGT. 

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