The Supreme Court delivers a much awaited blow and outcome
In a nutshell, yesterday, on the 5th of January 2016, the Supreme Court has effectively dismissed lock, stock, and barrel the case that was filed and supported by Sraddhalu Ranade, Raman Reddy, R.Y. Deshpande, R. Ramanathan (late) and other anti-Ashram elements against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (SAAT), that sought the removal of the trustees of the SAAT for an alleged breach of trust.
It may be recalled that these anti-Ashram elements had taken the SAAT to court because of their personal motives against some of the trustees and Peter Heehs in particular, demanding that the SAAT must act against the latter as well as the publication of his book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo“; a book which has been greatly and increasingly appreciated by a wide range of readers – scholars as well as people who are new to Sri Aurobindo and his philosophy.
The case that was filed in the year 2010 with malicious, mischievous intent and under false pretexts by these anti-Ashram elements, with the objectives of bringing the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to disrepute, and with the illusory hope that it would allow them to eventually take control of the Ashram once it was in shambles, had been dragging on for years since then. In the end, as was anticipated by all of the Well-Wishers of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the SAAT prevailed and the Supreme Court finally dismissed the case in a manner which gives the SAAT and all of its well-wishers much relief and joy.
The bench that heard the case in the Supreme Court correctly observed and concluded that:
“The trustees of a trust are entitled to a wide discretion in the administration of a trust. A disagreement with the exercise of the discretion (however passionate the disagreement might be) does not necessarily lead to a conclusion of maladministration, unless the exercise of discretion is perverse.”
The Supreme Court bench has therefore unequivocally expressed that there was nothing perverse and no failure or breach of trust, as alleged, on the part of the SAAT in its administration of the Ashram’s affairs, dismissing the case and thereby granting the Trust a comprehensive victory.
The malicious mischief that was played by Sraddhalu Ranade, Raman Reddy, R.Y. Deshpande and other anti-Ashram elements against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (SAAT) now stands fully exposed. It will now be only proper if these anti-Ashram elements tender an unconditional apology to the SAAT as well as to all the Well-Wishers of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for all the hostility and negativity that they unnecessary created during all these years, as it was all along exclusively driven by entirely personal motives that did not concern the SAAT or its Well-wishers. And should they be incapable of any decent behavior they might as well just leave the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, graciously if at all possible, in order to pursue their personal objectives at their own expense instead of that of the SAAT’s.
More from the Deccan Herald:
Apex court against removing trustee for failing to ban book
Ashish Tripathi NEW DELHI, Jan 06, 2016, DHNS
The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that failure to take steps to ban a book—critical of philosophical and spiritual guru of a trust—could not be treated as a serious omission to seek removal of its administration or trustees.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and S A Bobde said it might be an omission on the part of trustees in exercise of proper discretion but it would not fall within the compass of administration. The SC overturned an order by the Orissa HC granting permission to R Ramanathan and others, residents and followers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, to initiate proceedings for removal of the administration over their failure to stop publication or circulation of a book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” written by one Peter Heehs.
The book purported to be a biography of Sri Aurobindo was published in May 2008 by the Columbia University Press in the United States by Heehs, one of the ashramites. However, objections were made to its publication for containing sacrilegious materials about Sri Aurobindo. Though the Odisha government and the Centre banned the “objectionable” book, it was contended that the Ashram administration did not take any step to expel Heehs or to sever all ties of with him. Neither any effective action was taken to stop the publication of the book by contacting the Columbia University Press in the US or stop its sale through online sites here, it was claimed.
Allowing a plea by the Ashram, the SC bench said it was not in agreement with the view that the failure of the appellants to take the initiative in banning the objectionable book gives rise to a cause of action for the removal of the trustees and settling a scheme for its administration. “The trustees of a trust are entitled to a wide discretion in the administration of a trust. A disagreement with the exercise of the discretion (however passionate the disagreement might be) does not necessarily lead to a conclusion of maladministration, unless the exercise of discretion is perverse,” the bench said.
– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram –