December 10, 2018
Chennai : How did Art of Living Foundation get permission to erect tents inside Brihadisvara temple in Tamil Nadu questioned the Madras High Court on Monday when it summoned the Assitant Conservation Officer of Archaeological Survey of India, Thanjavur.
What was the basis for granting permission to Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living Foundation to hold a meditation event and directed the official to depose on Thursday, the next date of hearing in the case. A division bench comprising Justices KK Sasidharan and PD Audikesavalu had earlier asked the officials to remove the temporary structure erected inside the temple premises, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Madras High Court bench had on Friday ordered stay on the event after pictures of the giant pandal erected inside the court premises went viral on social media. Nearly one thousand devotees were expected to take part in the meditation event that was scheduled to start on Friday.
A petition challenging permission to hold the event was filed by a private citizen, N Venakatesh, who submitted to the court that the Sri Sri’s foundation had earlier been fined by the National Green Tribunal for the alleged damage it caused to the Yamuna river bank during an event it held two years ago.
The court had posed a question to the organisers as to why the event was being held inside a temple and not outside in a private hall. Incidentally at a fire incident in Madurai temple had destroyed several shops and caused panic. The petitioner also raised apprehensions that the meditation event also faced fire safety concerns.