Current issue Archive copies Auroville Experience March 2008
Is the Auroville Foundation an autonomous body?
- Carel ... For more is at stake than the freedom in financial matters. In question is the very freedom of Auroville's residents to develop Auroville independently, and not as per government directives. Comparisons were drawn with Shantiniketan, Rabindranath Tagore's world university in West Bengal , which, according to many, has become paralysed due to over-regulation by the Government. Is Auroville doomed to the same fate?
The Working Committee decided to obtain another legal opinion – not just from any lawyer, but from Shri Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General of India and Senior Advocate to India 's Supreme Court, who ranks amongst India 's most eminent legal luminaries. Three questions were asked: is the Auroville Foundation an autonomous body or a government-controlled organisation? Is there any legal provision which makes it compulsory for the Secretary to be co-signatory to all cheques? And what is the position of the Residents' Assembly vis-a-vis the Governing Board?
The legal opinion was long in the making. It arrived in January 2008. Its contents, however, were most enlightening...
Shri Sorabjee then examined the provisions of the Act itself, and concluded that the Auroville Foundation is not a government body but an independent juristic entity and that the provisions of the Act guarantee complete autonomy to the Foundation...
As can be expected, Aurovilians were pleased with Shri Sorabjee's unambiguous legal opinion. So was Shri Kireet Joshi, former Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, who, as Educational Advisor to the Government of India, had been responsible for drafting the Bill in 1987/8. In a letter to Shri Sorabjee, Kireet Joshi congratulated him for his brilliance in bringing out the intention behind the Act. “Your statement regarding the role that the Residents' Assembly is expected to play and the autonomy of the Foundation as a whole makes it very clear that the Auroville Foundation can never be described as a department of the government,” wrote Kireet. “The conclusion that you have drawn emphasizing the need for harmony among all the three authorities of the Foundation is impeccable.” Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Auroville Foundation Current issue Archive copies The Auroville Experience