News & Notes 925:Press release dated 22 May 2022 – Working Committee of the Residents' Assembly of the Auroville Foundation
Press release dated 22 May 2022: Working Committee of the Residents' Assembly of the Auroville Foundation
Bona fide Working Committee of Auroville Residents’ Assembly assert their mandate to fulfil their roles and responsibilities
The Working Committee of the Residents’ Assembly of Auroville Foundation stands for the legitimacy and healthy functioning of Auroville’s internal governance on the spirit and basis of the Auroville Charter, the Auroville Foundation Act and the presently approved internal processes, mandates and policies, guided by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and principles. Auroville is an evolving laboratory of consciousness to explore, experiment and progress in all fields of our individual and collective life. The Working Committee along with all residents of Auroville firmly and resolutely stands for a collaborative development of ‘the City the Earth Needs’.
The outcome of the honourable National Green Tribunal (NGT) relating to the material development of Auroville has been accepted with gratitude. Auroville residents are committed to implement the order of the NGT on building the Crown Road and Auroville Township as per approved plans. The Working Committee is dedicated to establishing an open collaborative dialogue to harmonise a rich diversity of opinions within the residents to implement development plans.
Unfortunately, illegitimate attempts to overrule the Residents’ Assembly and undermine the internal governance of Auroville continue to intensify.
The Auroville Foundation was created by an Act of Parliament as an autonomous body with its own system of internal governance. The Auroville Foundation is a three-tier structure consisting of the Governing Board, the Residents’ Assembly represented by the Working Committee, and the International Advisory Council. All three authorities of the Foundation have been collaborating harmoniously and professionally for the past 30 years, addressing topics together with the Working Committee and Office of the Secretary as bridges.
Lately, in an FIR filed against 6 Auroville residents, vindictive allegations have been made against three bona fide members of the Working Committee for carrying out their legal civic duties as per the Foundation Act. These unfounded claims made by the Secretary and Under Secretary of the Auroville Foundation, Dr Jayanthi Ravi and Mr. Srinivasmurty, are based on invalid dictates into the proper functioning of the Residents’ Assembly.
Neither the Governing Board, nor the Secretary have any role in the selection or approval of members of the Working Committee of the Residents’ Assembly. The Foundation Act is explicit:
- “20. (3) The manner of choosing the members of the Working Committee and their term of office shall be such as may be decided by the Residents’ Assembly.”
Despite this, the Secretary and Under Secretary have wrongfully attempted to prevent, de-legitimise and discredit the valid and categorical outcome of a decision-making process of the Residents’ Assembly, completed on the 10th of May, 2022, about the on-going membership of its Working Committee. This decision-making process had one of the highest participation rates in all of Auroville’s decision-making events: 92% of 864 voting residents voted to remove four members of the then Working Committee who had lost the confidence of a large number of residents. These same members had been selected in a Residents’ Assembly decision-making process by less than 200 residents in January 2021.
The Residents’ Assembly Decision also ratified that three existing and duly selected members of the Working Committee would continue to serve in the Working Committee: Ms. Chali Grinnell, Mr. Sauro Mezzetti and Mr. Hemant Lamba.
As bona fide members, the latter have since refused to hand over the keys to their offices in the Town Hall without the necessary legal order or justification being provided.
The Office of the Secretary has challenged the authority of the Residents’ Assembly itself by refusing to recognise these duly appointed representatives. The Secretariat has chosen to attack 6 individuals, including 3 Working Committee members, a move consistent with tactics to sow fear, division and confusion within the community and in the public sphere.
The Secretariat has also exerted heavy pressure on Auroville residents and committees to conform and implement fixed priorities and dictates as decided by the Secretariat and/or Governing Board without due process and consultation. Visa paperwork has been withheld or delayed, impacting the lives of many residents. Police have been engaged in plainly civil matters, and officers of the Secretary are misrepresenting technicalities to delegitimize the selection of the Working Committee, such as the ‘Register of Residents’ not being fully updated, a responsibility of the Secretary, as stated in Section 18(2) of the Auroville Foundation Act.
Communication platforms, such as Auroville’s Outreach Media and the community’s internal Google accounts and intranet have been seized, eroding essential and trusted platforms for Auroville’s collective interactions and work. The repeated authoritarian interventions in Auroville’s organisation, be it with regard to the planning and building of the city, the operation of its working groups or its communication, go against the Auroville Foundation Act 1988, which provides the basic rights to its residents to ‘organise activities relating to Auroville’ and that ‘the residents of Auroville are allowed freedom to grow and develop activities and institutions for the fulfilment of the aspirations and programmes envisaged in the said Charter of Auroville’.
These actions and allegations belittle lifelong commitments to Auroville by citizens of over 60 nationalities as well as the very principles and spirit on which Auroville is based.
The Working Committee of the Residents’ Assembly of the Auroville Foundation continues to carry out its duties, striving for harmony and collaboration, and will address the serious issues at play, including any cases brought against individuals.
End media release
For further information please call: +91 9585710457 or email: av.nationalnews (at) gmail.com
Please find enclosed the official announcement of Residents’ Assembly Decision.
For the Working Committee of the Residents’ Assembly of the Auroville Foundation,
Chali Grinnell, Elisa Goëta, Gilles Guigan, Hemant Lamba, Dr Juergen Axer, Sauro Mezzetti.