SC will not order Ashram probe without full-fledged hearing
About a fortnight ago, on 27th Jan ’15, the Supreme Court had heard a case filed by Dr. Gayathri Satapathy and others against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust which was reported in some of the media but which we failed to pick up and share on our website. As we have received some information about this case, we are sharing it with our readers.
The reports of the hearing in the Supreme Court suggest that the bench consisting of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice A.K. Sikri had good reasons to be suspicious of the motivations of those making malicious charges against the Ashram. The Supreme Court has wisely decided that it should adopt a cautious approach and first be sure of the merits of the charges leveled by the anti-Ashram elements before ordering a probe against the Ashram.
The bench judiciously observed that “before we appoint an inquiry committee we want to be sure about [it] ourselves. The moment we say some inquiry committee has to be appointed it has its own ramifications and that will be a disaster for the institution. If necessary, we will do so after the final hearing.”
The Supreme Court has very astutely identified that the anti-Ashram elements are not really interested in a probe, but they are in reality more interested in exploiting the various ramifications that ordering such a probe could have. Because the moment that the Supreme Court orders a probe, the anti-Ashram elements will use this to cast further aspersions on the Ashram, irrespective of whether the outcome of the probe finds the Ashram free of all charges.
The fact that anti-Ashram elements like Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade, R.Y. Deshpande and their ilk are not showing any interest in pursuing the inquiry that was initiated in 2013 goes to show that these agents of falsehood do not want the truth to emerge. Their objective is to cast aspersions against the Ashram and sully its reputation so that they can try to justify a change in the management of the Ashram which they wish to take over. Truth is a hindrance for these people and the only thing that matters to them is to make charges against the Ashram, even if they are completely false and baseless. It is pertinent to remind our readers that these anti-Ashram elements had even made efforts to stall the judicial inquiry. Instead of inquiry reports these trouble-makers only want more and more cases and probes ordered so that they can try to exploit them to create negative publicity against the Ashram.
The Supreme Court of India appears to have seen through their malicious ploys and has wisely decided to look into the merits of the allegations that are leveled against the Ashram before ordering any further action. After the Supreme Court saw from close quarters the case and drama of the Prasad sisters and got a good sense of what these anti-Ashram elements are made of, it is encouraging to find that a cautious approach is being adopted to ensure that the legal system is not abused by these perverted people.
It is also revealing to note that the website ‘thelivesofsriaurobindo.com’ which is managed by Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade, R.Y. Deshpande and other anti-Ashram elements and which is always reproducing news reports on their website has failed to report this news report that goes against them. It only goes to show how committed they really are to “objective, academic, respectful and honest discussions.”
We reproduce here the news report of the Supreme Court’s observations:
Probe only after full hearing: Supreme Court
Jan 28, 2015 | Age Correspondent | New Delhi
Observing that ordering a probe into the allegations of sexual harassment at Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry without a full-fledged hearing will have serious ramifications, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refrained from passing an order for a probe at this stage.
A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice A.K. Sikri told senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the petitioner Dr Gayathri Satapathy and others seeking such a probe “before we appoint an inquiry committee we want to be sure about ourselves. The moment we say some inquiry committee has to be appointed it has its own ramifications and that will be a disaster for the institution. If necessary, we will do so after the final hearing.”
Earlier, Mr Dhavan pleaded for a probe and said the Centre was also in favour of such a probe. Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the Ashram, brought to the notice of the bench that a similar writ petition was filed in the Madras high court and a probe was ordered to be conducted by a retired Kerala high court judge, T.L. Viswanatha Iyer. The bench then posted the matter for final hearing on March 19.
The Centre in its response to the notice on the petition had urged the court to order a fair probe by a retired high court judge into the allegations of sexual harassment of women and children in Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry. The allegations by the inmates of the Ashram and local MLA include misappropriation of Ashram funds and illegal sale and lease of Ashram properties.
– The Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram –