Devotees can visit Osho samadhi but follow rules: Bombay HC

Media Watch

Writes Rosy Sequeira in The Times of India, May 10, 2023.

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MUMBAI: Devotees can visit the late Osho’s samadhi by following rules, said the Bombay HC recently, clarifying an earlier order on a dispute between the current and erstwhile trustees of the Pune ashram.

“When we said that there is no prohibition for the devotees to visit the samadhi, the same would mean there is no prohibition to visit but in accordance with the rules, conventions and traditions,” said acting chief justice Sanjay Gangapurwala and Justice Madhav Jamdar in the April 25 order. [Here the author of the article is quoting text that is part of the ruling already given in August 2022, ed.]

The HC heard two interim pleas by Mukesh Sarda and six trustees of Neo Sannyas Foundation and Osho International Foundation, which control the estate. They had urged modification or clarification of an August 11, 2022, order that had restrained the trustees from alienating or creating third party rights in movable, immovable properties and intellectual property rights of the trusts without following due process of law. It also said there was no prohibition on the petitioners or devotees from visiting the samadhi.

The trustees’ advocate, Shriniwas Patwardhan, said they are not prohibiting devotees, but the trustees passed a resolution that devotees should not wear a ‘mala’ and must pay an entry fee. The petitioners’ advocate, Anil Anturkar, said if devotees do not want to visit the meditation centre, library or places other than the samadhi, they should not be made to pay a fee.

If, according to the trustees, “some norms, traditions and conventions are being infringed” during devotees’ visits, they can approach the joint or deputy charity commissioner, the high court has said. – Article includes Keerti’s comment

In essence: The board has made no new ruling. It simply repeated its earlier ruling (Aug 2022) and said quite clearly that if people want to nitpick about details like wearing a mala (“This Court is not expected to pour its vocabulary on these aspects of the matter”) the trustees should go to the Charity Commissioner to do that (“If according to the applicants some norms, traditions and conventions are being infringed then the applicants can approach the office of the Joint Charity Commissioner or Deputy Charity Commissioner by filing appropriate application, which application certainly would be considered on its own merits.”) [quoted from Court Order April 25, 2023 – PDF below]


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