EXTRACTS FROM THE JUDGEMENT BY JUSTICE O. CHINNAPPA REDDY
I have the good fortune of having before me the scholarly Judgement of my brother Misra L. I agree with my brother Misra J. t the Writ Petitions must fail. With much that he has said, also, I agree. But with a little, to my own lasting regret, I do not agree. It therefore, proper for me to explain the points of my disagreement. …We do not desire to 'enter into any polemics over Sri Aurobindo's teachings as it is not within the judicial province to do so except to the limited extent of finding out whether his teachings have the necessary spiritual content to qualify as religious doctrine and how his followers understood these teachings... …Sri Aurobindo, of course, disclaimed that he was founding a religion. No great religious teacher ever claimed that he was, founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought. The question is not whether Sri Aurobindo refused to claim or denied that he was founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought but whether his disciples and the community thought so. …If the followers of Sri Aurobindo constitute a 'religious nomination as, to my mind, they undoubtedly do, the members of Sri Aurobindo Society are certainly a distinct and identifiable section of the ‘religious denomination’… ... But, the question is has the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Art.26 been infringed by the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act 1980. We have to notice straightaway that the Act did not take away the management of Sri Aurobindo Society. What it did or purposed to do was "to provide for the taking over, in the public interest, of the management of Auroville for a limited period and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto" . . . ... the question arises whether Auroville is an institution established and maintained for religious and charitable purposes and whether its management of Auroville is 'a matter of religion '. Auroville is a township and not a place of worship. It is a township dedicated not to the practice and propagation of any religious doctrine but to promote international understanding and world peace, surely, a secular and not a religious activity.... The management of the International, cultural township of Auroville is not, in our opinion, a matter of religion. . . . On the several other questions argued before us I accept the conclusion of Misra J. . The Writ Petitions are accordingly dismissed but in the circumstances there will be no order regarding costs. . J.(0. CHINNAPPA REDDY) New Delhi, 8th November, 1982.