Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation is allowed to build without environmental clearance. According to Live Law, the Central Government has said this in the Madras High Court. Environmentalists have been expressing their concern over the pucca construction in a restricted area of Coimbatore by the Isha Foundation.
According to LiveLaw, the Center on Monday told the Madras High Court that Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation is not required to obtain environmental clearance for the construction work carried out on its Coimbatore campus in 2014. The Tamil Nadu government took action under a 2006 environment law of the central government.
In January 2022, the Tamil Nadu administration put a halt to the construction of the Isha Foundation. It had said that Jaggi Vasudev’s NGO Isha Foundation had started construction work in 2006 without obtaining approval under the Centre’s Environment Impact Assessment Notification.
The Isha Foundation had challenged the Tamil Nadu government’s decision in the Madras High Court, saying that the Environment Protection Amendment Rules, 2014 have exempted educational institutions in this regard.
Additional Solicitor General R Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the Centre, told the High Court that Isha Foundation is exempted on the ground of being an institution promoting education. Sankaranarayanan said the motive behind the exemption was to prevent harassment of the NGO and to “balance it”. A bench of Madras High Court Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishna Kumar will hear the matter on Wednesday, September 28.
According to The Hindu newspaper, on January 11, the High Court had restrained the Coimbatore District Environment Engineer from prosecuting the Isha Foundation. According to The Hindu, then Isha Foundation’s lawyer CS Vaidyanathan had claimed that the state-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority was also clear about the provision of exempting certain categories of establishments, including educational institutions.
However, Tamil Nadu Government Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram had said that it is for the Center to decide whether the 2014 rules can have an effect on the 2006 notification.
Jaggi Guru in controversy
Jaggi Vasudev has been surrounded in many controversies. The latest controversy is from Assam. Where in Kaziranga National Park, he himself drove a porter jeep in the forest of the National Park at night. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma was sitting next to him. And behind was the Assam Tourism Minister Jayantimalla Barua. On this, the environmental lovers of Assam had given a complaint to the police, demanding registration of an FIR and arrest.
As the controversy escalated, the Isha Foundation said that Jaggi Vasudev had gone on the invitation of the Assam government. Another incident happened in Kaziranga National Park. There the Assam government allowed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to set up a yoga-based camp. Environmental rules were broken in both programs. No one needs to go to every national park in the world after 5 pm except for the forest staff. Whereas Assam CM Sarma says that there is no such rule. Forest officials can allow anyone to go at night.