2 Feb 2010

Court Diary / Information Release 19.1.2010

[Here is the full text of the "Court Diary / Information Release 19.1.2010" which led to a flurry of denials from SCIY / IYF / Peter Heehs. Their denial was based entirely on Peter Heehs' assertions but offered no information to the contrary. The anonymous author of this "diary" appears to have been personally present during the court hearings.]

Court Diary / Information Release

Case Regarding
Cancellation of Peter Heehs' Visa and Deportation from India
in Chennai High Court

Parties:    Surekha Jain (Petitioner)
1. FRRO, Chennai (first Respondent)
2. FRRO, Pondicherry (second Respondent)
3. Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee Sri Aurobindo Ashram (third Respondent)
4. Superintendent of Police, Pondicherry North(fourth Respondent)

Hearing on 21st December 2009

  • Lawyers representing all parties were present. Peter Heehs came with a group of 25 Westerners. However he alone was allowed to enter the Court and his friends were asked to wait outside. Matriprasad came in with Peter Heehs' counsel and the Ashram's counsel, and was seen giving them instructions along with Peter Heehs.
  • Petitioner's legal counsel highlighted for the court that Peter Heehs has breached all visa conditions in connivance with third Respondent Manoj Das Gupta and should have his visa cancelled by first and second respondents, and immediate action taken by them to deport him. It was also highlighted that the fourth Respondent has failed to execute the live arrest warrant pending against Peter Heehs in Pondicherry.
  • The legal counsel representing Peter Heehs expressed to the court that Peter Heehs is a world renowned scholar who has dedicated more than 35 years of the his life in Pondicherry for the Ashram community in order to spread Sri Aurobindo's teachings. He said Peter Heehs is the foremost scholar and exponent of Sri Aurobindo's teachings in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and a very important person in the Ashram. He also pointed out that the Managing Trustee of the Ashram has said that the role and contribution of Peter Heehs to the Ashram is invaluable, and that Peter Heehs has the full support of the said Managing Trustee.
  • The legal counsel representing Manoj Das Gupta and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust said that he was in full agreement with the statements of the legal counsel of Peter Heehs and that the Petitioner was motivated by personal animosity towards Peter Heehs and as such the Petitioner and her complaint have nothing to do with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
  • Legal counsel representing Peter Heehs also declared that the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" is the most authentic, accurate and academic portrayal of Sri Aurobindo's life that has emerged from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its Archives. At this point the Chief Justice was keen to have a copy of the book. To which the legal counsel of Peter Heehs submitted that neither he nor his client Peter Heehs (who was present in court) were allowed to carry a copy of the book as the book has been proscribed within the territory of India. On hearing this the Chief Justice sarcastically remarked that in that case the book could not be as wonderful as portrayed by the legal counsel.
  • After some arguments and presentations by various sides, the legal counsel of the Petitioner conveyed strongly that this case was not about the book in any way but was about the breach of visa conditions by Peter Heehs and by Manoj Das Gupta.
  • The Chief Justice then asked the legal counsel of the visa authorities their views regarding visa extension and deportation of Peter Heehs. The counsel for FRRO then declared that based on documents available to them they were of the view that no further extension of visa of Peter Heehs was possible. But they could not take a decision regarding his immediate deportation as there were several criminal cases pending against Peter Heehs in Orissa, and as such they would have to take that into account before taking action for deportation or cancellation. They prayed for time to study and revert to the court on the matter.
  • After some more discussions the case was posted for hearing on 18th January on which date the respondents were ordered to submit written replies to the Petitioner's complaints.

Hearing on 19th January 2010

  • The case originally scheduled for hearing on 18th came up for hearing on the 19th.
  • Legal counsel representing Petitioner pointed out to the Court in the strongest terms that the four Respondents have failed thus far to give written depositions/submissions to the court regarding the specific plaints made by the Petitioner. He conveyed to the court that the four Respondents are delaying/avoiding written submissions as their failures are indefensible in the matter. He pleaded to the court that no further arguments should take place till written submissions are made by the Respondents.
  • The Chief Justice ordered the respondents to give written submissions on the next date of hearing which was posted as 2nd February 2010.

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