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