In a recent post, Alok Pandey shows that he and Sraddhalu Ranade are in fact involved in the court cases.

More than that, Pandey's letter indicates that their intent in urging and drafting material for court cases was never a matter of "hurt sentiments," but rather deliberate political maneuvering. They have been trying to change leadership at the Ashram through petition campaigns and court cases: "If [Peter] chooses to move out... the court cases might be dropped."

In his letters, Sraddhalu Ranade has repeatedly denied that he is in any way involved in any of the legal cases seeking to ban The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, in particular the Writ Petition to Stay Publication of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo in India. He makes this claim because initiating legal action against a fellow member of the Ashram is against the rules of the Ashram itself.

His claims of non-involvement in legal actions are untrue. The comparison between the Writ and Ranade's letter shows that much of the Petition was written by Ranade. He has been involved with the legal case from the planning stages; was in correspondence with the lawyers involved in the case; and personally drafted the material that forms the basis for the case. Though his name is not on the legal document, he has been deeply involved in every other sense of the word.

23 November 2009. Writ Petition filed at the Madras High Court by Surekha Jain, the mother of Geetanjali JB (aka Geetanjali Jain aka Geetanjali Bhattacharjee), the petitioner in the First Writ Petition case. The Writ names the Regional Registration Officers, Department of Immigration, Chennai and Puducherry; the Managing Trustee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram; and the Superintendent of Police, Pondicherry North as deponents. Jain demands that the court order the Immigration Department to take action "against the said Peter Heehs to forthwith deport him from the country."

1 December. Heehs files a petition to be "impleaded" (listed as a deponent in the case). The Chief Justice of the High Court accepts the petition and orders Heehs to be listed as a deponent.

4 February 2010. The lawyer representing Surekha Jain informs the court that he will no longer appear for Jain.

Mr. T. Mohan, the lawyer representing Heehs, draws the court's attention to a fictitious Court Diary purporting to be an account of the proceedings of 21 December 2009. Geetanjali (who speaks throughout for her mother Surekha, the ostensible petitioner) "states that she has not circulated the aforesaid article". This statement is recorded by the court.

March. The case is adjourned on two occasions.

28 April. Case dismissed.

15 April 2009: The Judicial Magistrate, First Class (JMFC), of Cuttack summons Peter Heehs or his lawyer to answer criminal charges in the Cuttack Magistrate's court. The "occurrence" is stated as follows: "When the Complainant received a copy of the offending publication called 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' written by Peter Heehs, the accused herein through online purchase." Sender of the book not named.

Note: The Cuttack summons is virtually identical to the Barbil summons, indicating an identical origin.

2 December: Justice A.S. Naidu of the Orissa High Court stays the trial of the case in the Cuttack Magistrate's Court and quashes an order passed by this court in September 2009.

Article in The Hindu

16 March 2009: The Judicial Magistrate, First Class (JMFC), of Barbil, Keonjhar District, summons Peter Heehs or his lawyer to answer criminal charges in the Barbil Magistrate's court. Heehs subsequently appears through lawyer. The "occurrence" is stated as follows: "When the Complainant received a copy of the offending publication called 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' written by the above named accused Mr. Peter Heehs through courrier [sic]". The sender of the book is not named.

4 November 2008: Writ Petition filed by Mrs. Geetanjali JB accepted by the additional government advocate, High Court of Orissa. The court orders that the petitioner "may make representation" before the Secretary of Home Affairs, the Secretary, Internal Security, and the Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, adding that these agencies "may ensure that there should be no publication of the book 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs without obtaining no objection from them during the pendancy of the representation".

On August 23, 2010, five Ashram inmates (Sraddhalu Ranade, Raman Reddy, Niranjan Naik, Sudha Sinha, S. Ramanathan) filed an affidavit at the Puducherry District Court against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its five Trustees (Manoj Das Gupta, Dilip Kumar Dutta, Dilip Mehtani, R. Prabhakar, Albert Patel).

I.A. no. 474 of 2010 in O.S. no ... of 2010

Filed under section 92 and section 151 of C.P.C. on 23 August 2010

Petitioners/Plaintiffs

1. Mr. S. Ramanathan

2. Mr. Niranjan Naik

3. Ms. Sudha Singha

4. Mr. Raman Reddy

5. Mr. Sraddhalu Ranade

All give their address as "Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 605002"

 

Respondents/Defendents

1. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

2. Mr. Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee

3. Mr. [should be Dr.] Dilip Kumar Dutta, Trustee

4. Mr. Dilip Mehtani, Trustee

5. Mr. R. Prabhakar, Trustee

6. Mr. Albert Patel, Trustee

Remarks: 2-6 are the five trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. With their petition the plaintiffs, who are members of the Ashram, seek the leave of the court to institute a suit against the Ashram Trust and its Trustees.

Paragraphs 1-3: Reddy introduces himself as petitioner 4 and as an inmate of the Ashram since 1978. He notes that the other four petitioners have been inmates since 2003, 1968, 1996, and 1968.

Remark: the average year of admission to the ashram of the five petitioners is 1982. Four of the five Trustees have been inmates of the ashram since the 1940s or 1950s.