Madras HC sustains validity of Auroville Board’s order

Court rejects plea to include members nominated by the Residents’ Assembly, says the power of the Board to constitute the Auroville Town Development committee cannot be questioned

The Madras High Court has sustained the validity of an order passed by the Governing Board of Auroville Foundation on June 1 with respect to the constitution of the Auroville Town Development committee (ATDC) and rejected a plea by a resident that members nominated by the Residents’ Assembly too should be included in the committee.

Justice R. Suresh Kumar ruled that the activities that could be performed by the Residents’ Assembly under Section 19 of the Auroville Foundation Act of 1988 were only in the nature of supplementing and not supplanting the main powers and functions vested on the Governing Board by the same law.

The judge dismissed a writ petition filed by the resident, Natasha Storey, who insisted that members nominated by the Residents’ Assembly, through its working council, should be included in the ATDC. He held that there was no legal basis for claiming that any right of the Residents’ Assembly have been affected.

Referring to Section 16 of the Act, the judge said it empowers the Governing Board to appoint as many committees as may be necessary for efficient discharge of its duties and performance of its functions under the Act. “When that being so, the power of the Board to constitute any committee like the ATDC cannot be questioned,” he wrote.

The only defect in the Governing Board’s June 1 order was that it had referred to a standing order instead of Section 16 while tracing the source of its power to constitute the ATDC. However, such defect was curable, Justice Kumar said and directed the Governing Board to issue a corrigendum within four weeks.