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“SC sets aside HC verdict on trustees of Aurobindo Ashram”

January 8, 2016
January 5, 2016 | UPDATED 20:40 IST

New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) The Supreme Court today set aside the verdict of the Orissa High Court holding that the judicial process to remove trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust can continue on account of their alleged failures to take steps for banning a book, critical of the spiritual guru.

“The question is whether the mild reaction is perverse or could in any way be held to be a breach of trust or an absence of effective administration of the Trust warranting the removal of the trustees. We do not think so.

“Failure to take steps to ban a book that is critical of the philosophical and spiritual guru of a Trust would not fall within the compass of administration of the Trust. It might be an omission of the exercise of proper discretion on the part of the trustees, but certainly not an omission touching upon the administration of the Trust,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and S A Bobde said.

The bench did not agree with the findings of the High Court that the proceedings under the Civil Procedure Code can go on for removal of the trustees of the Ashram on the ground that they did not take effective steps to get a controversial biography, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, banned.

The book, written by Peter Heehs, was published in May 2008 by Columbia University Press in the United States and allegedly contained some objectionable content against the spiritual guru.

“We are not in agreement with the High Court 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 of the Trust and settling a scheme for its administration,” it said.

It was alleged that the trustees failed to take any positive action to prohibit availability of the objectionable book or dissociate themselves from the objectionable book.

The other allegation was that instead of taking some coercive action against Peter Heehs, like removing him from the Ashram, the trustees assisted him in getting a visa for his continued stay in India by standing guarantee for him. PTI PKS SJK RKS ARC

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.


  1. Dr. Johann Georg Blomeyer permalink

    This case is amazing and silence is the best reaction. The case was started with malicious intent and hate against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the book and its author Peter Heehs were not the real subject.
    Any other situation would have led to the same start of the case. Interesting is that the claimants did not decide to leave the Ashram. If they were in real disagreement they would have left. No, they wanted the damage and finally rule the Ashram as the great victors. Myself, I have been in the claiming activity for 40 years and this in 4th generation; so I have some knowledge what is behind.
    Interesting is also that this malicious activity against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram could go to the Supreme Court of India. In my country, Germany, no court would accept such a case, arguing that there is no competence to internal disputes of spiritual societies.
    Dr. Johann Georg Blomeyer
    (ceterum censeo partitio India esse finandum)

  2. Selvam permalink

    Indeed, the fact that these very public critics of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram are not leaving this Institution which they themselves voluntarily joined shows that their court cases are frivolous, done for personal power gains. It also shows that they command big financial resources as High an Supreme Court lawyers and costs are quite expensive. How can these people claim Prosperity?

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