Updated: Oct 3
The habit of lying appears to be a very persisting one. People cling to falsehood for dear life, and the Aurovillage cult members keep spreading misinformation, seemingly innocently, apparently honestly believing it is gospel truth, in spite of facts that prove otherwise.
To understand the latest fallacies, a short recap of the legal situation is required:
The first court case the Aurovillagers filed, in December 2021, was the National Green Tribunal case, claiming that Auroville is a “deemed forest”, and therefore asking to forbid the continuation of the paving of the Crown Road, which had been stalled since 2012. The verdict on April 28th, 2022, was presented as a huge win, even though the “deemed forest” claim was debunked and a sort of compromise ordered. In spite of their claimed victory, they now endlessly file additional claims of “contempt of court”, because the implementation of the verdict is not according to their wishful-thinking interpretation of it. The verdict is appealed by the Foundation in the Supreme Court, and this appeal is currently awaiting judgement.
Several Writ Petitions were filed in the Madras High Court in the first half of 2022, of which three were clubbed together in a single verdict that was given on August 12th, 2022. This verdict was again proclaimed to be a “great victory”, even though one of the three petitions was quashed, and another was obsolete by the time of the judgement. This verdict is also appealed, in the Madras High Court itself, and awaiting judgement.
When they accepted to hear the appeal against the August 12th, 2022 verdict, the judges gave a Stay Order on the verdict, which suspended the implementation of the verdict until the judgement on the appeal will be given.
The Aurovillagers filed an additional petition to lift the Stay Order.
(They filed many more cases, of which they so far lost 2, withdrew another, and had the last one not even accepted.)
The judgement on this extra petition to cancel the Stay Order on the August 12th, 2022 verdict, was given on September 4th, 2023, and published some time later. The Aurovillagers lost this case once more, and the Stay Order was upheld.
Yesterday I was confronted with the claim that this “Modified Interim Order” (it is a modification of the Interim (“Stay”) Order on the appeal of the August 12th, 2022 verdict) suddenly “confirmed the legal status of the “RA Working Committee” as legal-Auroville Foundation Act-by the High Court in Chennai”.
This is a totally false and absurd claim. The Interim Court Order does not say anything of the sort, and until today, none of the shadow groups have had any legal endorsement, but on the contrary, the Governing Board-appointed groups do have this legal endorsement.
They keep saying the opposite of what is real, and people who believe their delusional statements will not be able to make any sense of what is actually happening in Auroville, as it flatly contradicts their claims: reality is totally different from what they pretend it is.
Here is the text of the Modified Interim Order of September 4th, 2023. It is not very long, and I cannot find an online version of it, therefore I quote it in full. If you have difficulty reading legal text, you can skip it and continue where the explanation of it starts. But anybody who wants to know the real truth of what is happening should always go to the original source material, and not just blindly believe a person when they claim something happened or was said. Quoting this text here gives everybody the opportunity to verify for themselves that what I say about the Modified Interim Order is factual, and that the claims of the Aurovillagers are false.
The present application is filed for vacating the order of stay granted by this Court on 26.8.2022 in C.M.P.No.14291 of 2022 in W.A.No.1961 of 2022.
We have heard Mr.Sriram Panchu, learned Senior Counsel for the applicant and Mr.AR.L.Sundaresan, learned Senior Counsel for Mr.Vaibhav Venkatesh, learned for the first respondent/appellant.
The appellant has filed the appeal against the common judgement and order passed by the learned Single Judge of this Court on 12.8.2022 in a batch of writ petitions. Under the said order, the learned Single Judge, in paragraph 69, observed and directed as under:
69. For the foregoing communication dated reasons, the 06.05.2022 impugned which is the subject of W.P.No.14707 of 2022 and the impugned Office order No.491 dated 15.07.2021 which is the subject matter of W.P.No.11738 of 2022 are hereby quashed and the writ petitions are allowed with the following directions: “The Secretary of the Auroville foundation is directed to give wide publicity through whatever way she deems fit in the interest of the foundation for its effective administration for updation of Register of Residents Assembly is updated, the four statutory bodies namely (a) Governing Board, (b) Residents' Assembly, (c) Working Group of Residents' Assembly and (d) International Advisory Council shall not take any policy decision which alters the existing structure and working of the Auroville Foundation. Once the Register of Residents' Assembly is updated by the Secretary of the Auroville foundation, all the four statutory authorities referred to supra shall act in accordance with the Auroville Foundation Act and its rules.””
The writ appeal is pending before this Court.
This Court, while granting stay to the impugned judgement, observed that the direction given by the learned Single Judge in paragraph 69 is not only going beyond the prayer in the writ petitions, but even the finding and the observation made in reference to the pleadings.
Learned Senior Counsel for the applicant and learned Senior Counsel for the appellant took us through the scheme of the Auroville Foundation Act, 1988 (for short, “the Act of 1988”); constitution of the Committees, such as, the Governing Board; the Residents' Assembly and Advisory Council, so also the powers and functions of the respective bodies.
The relevant aspects about the powers and functions will be considered when the appeal is decided on its own merits.
We do not find the observation of this Court while passing the interim order that the learned Single Judge has gone beyond the prayer in the writ petitions and the pleadings while passing the order to be without substance.
From a perusal of the impugned order, it is manifest that the learned Single Judge has travelled beyond the prayer in the writ petitions and the pleadings and the said fact is also accepted by the learned Senior Counsel for the applicant and learned Senior Counsel for the appellant.
In the present application, we are only concerned with the contentions raised by the Residents' Assembly. Sections 18 and 19 of the Act of 1988 deal with the constitution of Residents' Assembly and the functions of the Residents' Assembly. The Residents' Assembly is a statutory body. No doubt, the Governing Board and the Advisory Council are also statutory bodies. When the impugned judgement and order is stayed, even the order of the learned Single Judge regarding functioning of the Residents' Assembly with a further rider not to take any policy decision is also stayed. The work of preparing the Register of the Residents' has to be completed and the said Register has to be maintained.
Under sub-section (2)(a) of Section 19 of the Act of 1988, the Residents' Assembly may allow the admission or cause the termination of persons in the register of residents in accordance with the regulations made under Section 32. As far as the preparation of master plan is concerned, the same has to be submitted for approval of the Governing Board. It has to recommend the proposal for raising funds for approval of the Governing Board. The Working Committee of Residents' Assembly is contemplated under Section 20 of the Act of 1988. The learned Single Judge, while passing the impugned order, has only prohibited the bodies from taking policy decision.
The statutory body may not be restrained from functioning. That would be against the very scheme of the Act, unless and otherwise it is shown that the authority exists to disband the Residents' Assembly. Prima facie, in our opinion, it would not be appropriate to completely disband the Residents' Assembly.
In the light of the above, we partly modify the interim order of stay dated 26.8.2022 passed by this Court qua Residents' Assembly as under:
The Residents' Assembly may function as provided under Sections 18 to 20 of the Auroville Foundation Act, 1988.
The Residents' Assembly shall not take policy decision which shall alter the existing structure and working of the Auroville Foundation.
The application, accordingly, stands disposed of.
Here's an explanation of each point to make it a bit easier to understand what actually is being said:
This case is filed to cancel the Stay Order that blocks the implementation of the August 12th, 2022 verdict.
The lawyers of the Aurovillagers (who filed the case and are the “applicant”) as well as those of the Foundation (who are appealing the verdict and are the “appellant” but also the “respondent” in this extra case against the Stay Order) were given time to plead their arguments. (In other words: a normal judicial procedure was followed before this judgement was given.) (The text has mistakes in it, there are words missing, but the meaning is still deductible.)
The Foundation has appealed the verdict, and this extra case filed by the Aurovillagers deals specifically with point 69 out of this verdict, which deals with the suspension of decisions until the Register of Residents is updated. (For a full explanation of this long verdict (which clubbed the verdicts on three different cases together, and is therefore called the “common” judgement), see episode 41.)
The appeal against the August 12th, 2022 verdict is still pending in court, there is no judgement on the appeal yet.
When the Stay Order was granted (August 26th, 2022), the judges who gave this Stay Order expressed their opinion that in his August 12th, 2022 verdict the Hon'ble Judge Mr. Quddhose stepped outside of the scope of the cases and what was pleaded in them. (This is a quite strong and significant criticism of the verdict, which the Aurovillagers still quote left and right.)
The lawyers explained the Auroville Foundation Act with its different descriptions of the three bodies (GB, RA, IAC). (For more explanation of the Auroville Foundation Act, see episodes 17, 48 and 49.)
The judges' decisions on the meaning of the Auroville Foundation Act and the roles and powers of the Governing Board and Residents' Assembly will be given later, when they give their verdict in the appeal case. So nothing about that all will be said in this Modified Interim Order.
The opinion that was given with the Stay Order, as was mentioned in point 5, namely that the judgement of August 12th, 2022, went beyond the scope of the cases and expressed more than was justified by the content of the cases themselves, is not an empty claim.
The judges still uphold the opinion of point 5, and, apparently, the lawyers of BOTH parties accept the fact that the verdict goes beyond the scope of the cases! (Both points 8 and 9 in fact belong with point 5 and should have logically followed that point instead of being put here after talk of other things.)
This Interim judgement only deals with the issue about the functioning of the Residents' Assembly, which is a “statutory body”, just as are the Governing Board and the International Advisory Council (the Auroville Foundation Act names these three bodies as the three main parts of the Auroville Foundation). The fact that the August 12th, 2022 verdict is on hold (“stayed”), also means that the “ban” on the RA decision making that was part of this verdict is also presently not implemented. But the work on the Register of Residents needs go on. This work was also mentioned in the verdict, and it could be logically argued that because the verdict is “stayed”, the updating of the RoR is also stayed. The judges here confirm that this is not the case, and that this work has to move forward, regardless of the cases, the verdict, and the Stay Order.
The functions given to the Residents' Assembly in the Auroville Foundation Act are repeated: allow admission or termination of entry in the RoR according to the regulations given by the Governing Board, formulate the Master Plan, propose fundraising activities. Only taking policy decisions was on hold in the verdict of August 12th, 2022. (There is nothing said here about the very strange fact that “taking policy decisions” is nowhere mentioned in the Auroville Foundation Act when it talks about the Residents' Assembly).
Here it is said that the Residents' Assembly cannot be prevented from functioning. Obviously, that is not an earth-shattering statement. Moreover, it is said that this would more or less “disband” the Residents' Assembly, and that such a thing is not provided for in the Auroville Foundation Act as far as the judges know. Without having been in court and actually heard the pleadings, this whole point sounds weird. Did anybody ask for the Residents' Assembly to be “disbanded”?
And here then are the modifications of this Modified Interim Order: some cosmetic changes are made to the Stay Order: the Residents' Assembly may continue to function according to its functions as given in the Auroville Foundation Act. That is a very very crucial condition, which I will come back to below. The explicit stating of the quite obvious fact that the Residents' Assembly may not take policy decisions and not alter the existing structure and working of the Auroville Foundation is remarkable.
And that's it. Case dismissed, the Stay Order is upheld, there's nothing really that has changed.
Note that no less than three separate points are spent on confirming that the judges feel that Hon'ble Mr. Quddhose went too far in his verdict of August 12th, 2022. That is a serious confirmation of a point which the Aurovillagers themselves never ever mention when they talk about this case: they simply “forget” to inform us about this clearly crucial matter. This criticism of the verdict is quite foreboding for the judgement of the appeal.
Note also that the original Stay Order did not say anything at all about the functioning of the Residents' Assembly or the functioning of the Governing Board: it simply stated that the request to freeze the verdict for the time being was honoured: the verdict as a whole was invalidated until a judgement in appeal will be given. There was nothing else, and nobody ever claimed that the Residents' Assembly would not be a “statutory body” or that it should not function or be disbanded. The reason why this has become the whole central matter of this modification can only be that the Aurovillage lawyer has kept harping on about this, and has nagged the judges until they actually said this out loud and agreed to have it spelled out in writing.
So the modification that is being flaunted as some huge victory is ONLY specifying something that in fact was already understood and implied in the Stay Order of August 26th, 2022, and totally self-evident and not at all contested.
And also note that the ban on RA decisions was given in the verdict, but that this verdict is presently not valid because it is “stayed”. This part of the verdict dealt with the case filed by Hemant Lamba, and was about the letter of the Governing Board, in which the decisions of the RA were invalidated until the RoR is updated. Because the verdict is not valid, the quashing of this directive of the Governing Board is ALSO not valid, and therefore, this directive still stands. So in any case, the decisions of the RA are not valid. Moreover, there are no decisions to be taken by the Residents' Assembly according to the Auroville Foundation Act, and therefore, if the Residents' Assembly functions according to the Act, as is ordered in this Modified Interim Order, then there is no decision-making process at all.
What on earth are these people rejoicing about? Can't they read what is actually in this document?
This is actually the most crucial part. Because what exactly does the Act say about the functioning of the Residents' Assembly? Nothing at all about taking decisions on how Auroville is governed. According to the Act, all of that is the prerogative and actual meaning of the Governing Board – why else would the Act create a Governing Board if it wanted the Residents' Assembly to govern Auroville?
The fact that it is implicitly acknowledged in this Modified Interim Order that the Residents' Assembly apparently has been doing something that is described as “taking policy decisions”, is quite revealing. This is really the crucial, central point of the whole legal battle that the Aurovillagers are waging, because the Auroville Foundation Act does not in any way authorise or describe any manner for the Residents' Assembly to take any policy decisions. It is obvious from the whole Act that it never intended the Resident's Assembly to be a decision-making body at all.
However, as explained many times, over the past 30 years, the Auroville cult leadership has taken all the decision-power to itself, and even managed to have the Governing Board sign over its power to decide who is actually an Aurovilian and who isn't: the Act gives this power to the Governing Board: the members of the Governing Board have to create these regulations that set the conditions for living in Auroville and being entered in or removed from the Register of Residents. But due to the scheming of the Aurovillage leadership, the whole presently valid text does not mention the Governing Board at all, but endlessly mentions the Residents' Assembly and gives all the decision power to this body that was never meant to take any decisions and has no structure to do so.
There is another crucial issue which this Modified Interim Order does not touch on, but is very important to its matter: who exactly is the Residents' Assembly? Because, according to the Auroville Foundation Act, it is simply “everybody listed in the Register of Residents”. So how can “everybody” be busy with “taking policy decisions”? How should the Residents' Assembly be defined and structured if it were supposed to “take policy decisions”? The whole fact that the Residents' Assembly is not defined as a body that needs to carry any responsibility or have the power to take decisions, is exactly showing very clearly that something is very wrong in what has been going on and how Aurovillage has been run. At least, it's not according to the Auroville Foundation Act, because the facts contradict the intentions expressed by the Act's structure and words.
And on top of this, now the Aurovillagers claim to be the “RA”, and exclude everybody that doesn't agree with them as “not the RA”. How weird and in total violation of the Act is that?
I, as a resident listed in the Register of Residents, have suddenly nothing to do with the “RA” according to them. I am “GB-appointed”, which somehow removes me from the “RA”, and I am also labelled a Secretary sycophant or servant or all kinds of things that somehow make me no longer a member of the Residents' Assembly. While according to the Foundation Act, I totally am. The whole reasoning of the Aurovillage cult shows clearly that they are not in line with the Auroville Foundation Act, and that their business can therefore not be legally validated. Which so far also hasn't happened, by the way. Quite the contrary.
Now to come back to the original reason for this blogpost: it should now be clear as day that this Modified Interim Order does not in any way deal with the legality of the shadow groups, least of all their Working Comedy which has a member who cannot enter India anymore, probably forever. All claims that this Order is giving legal status to any of the Aurovillagers or their hobby clubs is completely false.
And after reading this Order, something has to strike us as very remarkable: there is nothing in this verdict that the Aurovillagers could claim as “a win”. They lost their case once again, the Stay Order is upheld. The cosmetic modifications are insignificant and do not suddenly bombard the Residents' Assembly to be the Ruler of Auroville, and the powers of the Governing Board are totally upheld. There is literally nothing in this whole text that gives any validity to any claim the Aurovillagers have been making: it's a total failure of their efforts and an overall “nyet” to their requests.
Their internal and desperate strategy is becoming more and more clear:
They HAVE to act. If they do nothing, they have lost all the power they illegally usurped over the past 50 years.
But fighting for power is exposing them as frauds. They have created a rosy and hypnotising narrative that they are about unity, love, spirituality and harmony, but starting a battle for the throne is obviously the total opposite. If they do nothing, they can keep the narrative that they are about peace and love, but then they lose their power. If they fight for it, they show the narrative to be a lie. What to do?
They decided to go for a legal battle, which on top of it all is completely against their own very important policy of “solving disputes internally”. So the propaganda machine needs to turn overdrive now, to somehow cover the blatant contradictions of what they say and what they do, and to justify that what was extremely important and central in the past is now its opposite and can be thrown in the wind. They have to blabber on endlessly with loads of claims and lots of emotional and tear-jerking statements, trying to lull their followers to sleep so they forget to notice the absurdity of their actions when compared to their claims.
The legal battle has to end with a clear and legal declaration that they are in charge of Auroville. Somehow a judge needs to state in a verdict that because they were the de facto owners and kings of Auroville for a few decades, they now need to be made the de iure owners and kings of Auroville. Their rightful dictatorship has to be enshrined in law now, with the indisputable right to live in India as foreigners for as long as they choose.
The legal battle seemed off to a glorious start: two “wins” in the first months. Both were appealed, unfortunately for them, and then the horror started to show its head: they lost. And again. And again. Every single time after these two initial “victories”, they lost. And the victories may well be lost on appeal also. Coming to terms with this reality is too much to ask of them.
Due to this mess, their cult members are starting to doubt. Hope is fading, the negative outcomes of the legal battle – which on top of it all costs a fortune – are breaking the Spirit of Aurovillage. People start leaving, the attendance at meetings dwindles to only the die-hards, nobody shows up for actions anymore. Without the followers, the cult leaders have no power and nothing to justify their fight: they will be only a little group of angry Westerners: quantité négligeable. More copium is needed: the sheep need a positive outlook so they keep giving status to the cult leaders.
The lawyers are instructed to make sure that the negative spiral ends: whatever happens in court, they need to do anything in their power to assure that it can be spun in a positive way: SOMETHING needs to be said by the judges that can be presented as a “win” and fed to the cult members so they keep believing in the cult narrative. Therefore, whenever the negative outcome of the court hearings is becoming undeniable, the lawyers keep pressing the judges for confirmation of ever more ordinary and self-evident statements: this way, the cult leadership can proudly proclaim to their followers that “the judge has clearly and explicitly stated that grass is green!! Hallelujah, we won!!!”, while obviously nobody every contested that grass is green, and while the case in question had nothing to do with grass in the first place.
The fact that this will end in disaster is obvious for everyone who is not hypnotised by the cult narrative.
Inform yourself of the facts, and don't just believe someone when they claim to be telling the truth. Lying is an old habit, and old habits die hard. But they do die, eventually.