IRG v GBC Legal Action
March 28, 1999 VNN3445 VNN WORLD
This story URL: http://www.vnn.org/world/WD9903/WD28-3445.html
Srila Prabhupada wanted all ISKCON members to respect
the GBC and work together cooperatively under its authority. For this ethos of
respect and voluntary submission to exist the GBC body themselves must be seen
to be acting, to the best of their abilities, within the stringent boundaries
set them by the person who originally authorized their existence, namely Srila
Prabhupada. By clearly and blatantly acting outside, and even in direct contradiction
to those strict boundaries, the GBC have tragically precipitated their own loss
of authority. Indeed, in the eyes of many devotees in and around the movement,
they have become an embarrassment to Srila Prabhupada through their speculative
introduction of unauthorized systems, practices and philosophy. Our aim is to
place the GBC back firmly within their prescribed boundaries, and thus assist
in the restoration of their authority. We want to serve under a GBC everyone can
be proud of and respect as faithfully upholding Srila Prabhupada's teachings and
instructions. Thus our action is designed to strengthen the GBC body in the long
term, not weaken or undermine it. In their present consciousness they will undoubtedly
see things very differently.
It may be argued that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to sort our differences out amongst ourselves, and not resort to outside 'karmi' courts. It was certainly Srila Prabhupada's intention that the GBC act as sole arbiters over any disputes arising within ISKCON. However, what does one do if the GBC themselves are seriously abusing their power? How can the GBC sort out the problem if they are the problem? If the GBC voted tomorrow that Krishna was not God, would we all accept it simply because they passed an official sounding resolution? Of course not, and why? Because everyone knows the GBC must act within the parameters Srila Prabhupada set for them. These parameters were clearly set out by Srila Prabhupada in the following definition of the GBC, which he himself approved:
|"The GBC has been established by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to represent Him in carrying out the responsibility of managing the International Society for Krsna Consciousness of which He is the Founder-Acarya and supreme authority. The GBC accepts as its life & soul His divine instructions and recognizes that it is completely dependent on His mercy in all respects. The GBC has no other function or purpose other than to execute the instructions so kindly given by His Divine Grace and preserve and spread His Teachings to the world in their pure form." (Definition of GBC, Resolution 1, GBC minutes 1975, emphasis added)|
The ' instruction' they were authorized 'to execute'
was the July 9th directive. They 'had no other function' but to execute this instruction.
And in terminating this instruction without authority from Srila Prabhupada, they have acted outside the authority given to them by Srila Prabhupada. Thus they were NOT acting as the GBC authorized by Srila Prabhupada, but in their own capacity as a self-regulating body - which the GBC are not. The GBC are directly regulated by Srila Prabhupada, as given in the definition above.
Srila Prabhupada often expressed concern over how the GBC conducted itself, on one occasion in 1972 he even disbanded it altogether. As the quotes below demonstrate he was well aware of their fallibility and tendency to deviate:
|"But the difficulty is that our
GBC men are falling victim to Maya. Today I trust this GBC and tomorrow he will
fall down. This is the difficulty."
(Srila Prabhupada letter 16.12.74)
|"I made the GBC to give me relief,
but if you do like this, then where is the relief? It is anxiety for me. This
is the difficulty, that as soon as one gets power he becomes whimsical and spoils
everything. What can I do?"
(Srila Prabhupada letter 12.9.74)
|"What will happen when I am not
here, shall everything be spoiled by GBC?" (Srila Prabhupada letter 11.4.72) "I
have appointed originally 12 GBC members and I have given them 12 zones for their
administration and management, but simply by agreement you have changed everything,
so what is this, I don't know."
(SP Letter to Rupanuga, 4/4/72)
Srila Prabhupada's worst fears were realised the minute
he departed. The transgressions are so clear that we are confident any neutral
party, or jury, will see it. We have for some years warned the GBC of this fact.
We have preached to them individually and as a group. We have answered every question,
dotted every i, crossed every T, and gone to every length we could possibly go
to to bring about a peaceful non-confrontational resolution. Unfortunately the
GBC simply refuse to listen to reason, and instead openly mock, intimidate and
ban our supporters.
The GBC have pronounced in the strongest possible terms that the 'No Change' presentation of Madhu Pandit and Adri Dharan prabhus is 'blasphemous' to Srila Prabhupada. This is in spite of the fact that the presentation is based entirely around Srila Prabhupada's own words, and the GBC themselves have been unable to provide any words from Srila Prabhupada in opposition.
On the contrary they have never provided any justification from Srila Prabhupada's instructions for their actions in this matter. It is for this reason we have been forced to take legal action. The Will says there should be no change to any systems of management, yet the first thing the GBC did after Srila Prabhupada's departure was to terminate his system of managing initiations, and in that way remove him as the diksa guru for ISKCON.
The GBC may argue that a court cannot decide on the matter since it is a philosophical dispute. This is a smokescreen. There never was any valid philosophical objection to Srila Prabhupada's continued diksa status as is evidenced by all the rebuttals on the IRG web site. Srila Prabhupada set up legal entities such as a BBT and wrote legal documents such as the Will so as to legally protect that which he had established. Thus it is perfectly legitimate to make a legal challenge if there has been some malpractice or illegality. Srila Prabhupada would expect his followers to protect his movement from unauthorised activity detrimental to the aims of the society, and if that protection needed to take the form of legal action then so be it. If the GBC's case is as solid and insurmountable as they like to claim then they have nothing to fear, since this is a legal case with clear legal guidelines.
The history of this dispute is well known. After years
of complaints and campaigning of various sorts the GBC asked for our case to be
written down in one definitive document so they could efficiently answer all our
concerns. The result of this request was 'The Final Order' paper, which was presented
to the GBC in Oct 1996. In partial reply the GBC released a paper called 'Disciple
of My Disciple' in which they completely contradicted their previous explanations
as to how Srila Prabhupada had authorised his displacement as ISKCON's diksa guru.
On top of that the paper failed to address our central concerns and instead attacked
arguments and propositions we had never made (please see 'The
Final Order Still Stands' for details).
The GBC then changed tack and produced another paper, 'Prabhupada's Order', which again did not answer our concerns, again responded to points we had never made, and for good measure contradicted their previous paper - 'Disciple of my Disciple' - (as well as contradicting itself!)
Most recently the GBC asked us to present to them in Mayapur where, without even responding directly to our presentation, they unanimously decided we were wrong. How did they come to this conclusion? Was it by presenting evidence supporting modifications A & B from 'The Final Order'? Was it by presenting any clear counter evidence or cogent argumentation superseding the self-contradictory verbiage they had written previously? No. They reached their conclusion by a show of hands. No relevant evidence, no proper explanation, just a show of hands. Amongst them the same hands that had written self-contradictory and irrelevant rubbish only months before.
So confident were the GBC in the strength of their case that, despite great protest and dissension, they barred their own deputies from listening to our 'No Change' presentation.
In this way the GBC has simply become a law unto themselves, protecting their own positions and funding at any expense. The latest so-called 'guru reforms' are testament to this, comprising as they do of nothing but an arbitrary hotchpotch of hastily welded together measures, none of which having any basis in Srila Prabhupada's instructions (any more than the original system they were supposed to 'reform'). It is time to call a halt and bring the GBC to task for their behaviour. This is the only way we can see ISKCON surviving, and the GBC's authority being restored. The GBC shall be forced into compliance with Srila Prabhupada's order by the law of the land.
Isn't this the same as the Gaudiya Matha?
The Gaudiya Matha fought for property and power over
whom would be the next acarya, with the very basis of the fight being in violation
of their Guru's order that there was to be no acarya. Thus even before the court
action started, the deviation from the Guru's order had already occurred, and
they were simply going to the courts to assist in the enforcement of that deviation.
Our action is not for control over land or property or false acaryaship, but to
correct and reverse a deviation from the Guru's order.
Thus the nature and purpose of the IRG is completely the opposite to the Gaudiya Matha litigation:
|"But just after his (Srila Bhaktissidhanta
Sarasvati Thakura) passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority,
to occupy the post of acarya, and they split into two factions over who the next
acarya would be. (...) the two unauthorised factions began litigation that is
still going on after forty years with no decision."
(Srila Prabhupada, Caitanya Caritamrta Adi.12.8)
We expect a far speedier outcome to the action over
Srila Prabhupada's Final Will since it is a clear-cut case in support of our acarya's
direct legally binding instructions. An expanded version of our 'no change' position
has been posted on VNN & IRG in a paper entitled 'No Change In ISKCON Paradigm'.
This will outline how our case is irrefutable.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada
IRG International Office Calcutta
April 11, 1999 VNN3571 VNN WORLD
This story URL: http://www.vnn.org/world/WD9904/WD11-3571.html
INDIA, Apr 11 (VNN) This will hopefully be the first of many briefings that I hope to provide for the benefit of the vaisnavas all over the world, who are no doubt following this case very closely. As well as keeping everyone informed, these briefings, by quoting from actual court documents, will also be able to put paid to the many false allegations that have been made by the GBC regarding this case. I shall therefore be giving this briefing in the form of answers to common questions currently being asked:
1) Why are you suing ISKCON, which is Srila Prabhupada's body?
FACT: The Defendants in the case are as follows:
1. ISKCON Governing Body Commission Society : Shree Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, Shree Mayapur Dham, Dist. : Nadia, (mail P.O. Box 10279, Ballygunj, Calcutta 700 019) West Bengal
2. All the names from 'List of ISKCON Gurus'.
(This is quoted from the actual petition presented to the court)
Thus the court documents actually list 69 individual defendants, which are:
The GBC, the GBC secretary and 67 initiating Gurus.
Thus only those individuals who are deviating from Srila Prabhupada's instructions are listed, not the corporate ISKCON body. The GBC is listed and registered as a separate and distinct society from ISKCON, and indeed has only legally existed since 1993, when it was registered in West Bengal. The purpose of the case is not therefore to attack ISKCON, but errant individuals who are not obeying Srila Prabhupada's July 9th directive.
2) Isn't the case simply about Adridharan das and other Indian temple presidents trying to hang onto their position, properties and make money?
FACT: Below is item 46 from the Final Petition presented to the in the High Court at Calcutta - Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction.
46) This application is made bonafide and for the interest of justice. Your petitioners therefore, most humbly pray Your Lordships for the following orders :
a) Injunction restraining the defendants by themselves and / or their associates from purporting to act as initiating Gurus and/or giving Diksha in their name and/or initiating any person as their own disciple.
b) Mandatory injunction directing that initiation of new disciples are to be made only by Ritviks as representatives of Srila Prabhupada and all new disciples are to be initiated as disciples of Srila Prabhupada in terms of the directive dated 9th July, 1977.
c) Injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves or through their agent or their servants from giving effect or further effect to the impugned Resolution dated 14th February, passed by the GBC and/or from any similar resolution or from giving any effect or taking any step or action in pursuance of or in reliance thereupon against the petitioners or any other person in any manner whatsoever.
d) Mandatory injunction directing that the names of all disciples of Srila Prabhupada and / or persons initiated as disciples of Srila Prabhupada be entered in the initiated disciples book maintained by the Secretary of Srila Prabhupada during the life time of Srila Prabhupada.
e) Injunction restraining the defendants from holding themselves out and/or acting as Gurus.
f) Receiver be appointed over the minutes book containing the impugned resolution dated 14th February, 1999 and to make inventory and put his initials on the same.
This is what is actually being requested. Thus it is clear that the case is about PRINCIPLES, and following Srila Prabhupada's instructions. There is NO demand for properties or money from any particular individual. And even the demand for the resolution banning 'ritviksm' and expelling its adherents to be removed is only subsidiary to the main demands.
3) Hasn't the Judge already thrown the main case out, with only the matter of expulsion left to be decided?
FACT: This piece of fanciful fiction comes from H.H. Jayapataka maharaja, as in the following e-mail:
"Already the judge has dropped all reference to injunctions about initiation saying the court has no jurisdiction over spiritual matters. The only thing left is fighting for remaining as TP's."
(E-mail from H.H. Jayapataka Maharaja to Indian Continental Committee, dated 3/4/99)
In reality the actual OPPOSITE has happened. Since the petition was filed at the High court, there have been two hearings. At the first hearing on 25/3/99, the IRG asked for two things to be granted immediately as interim orders whilst the case is heard:
1) That all ISKCON Gurus are immediately stopped from initiating.
2) That no action can be taken by the GBC against anyone who supports the IRG position, and therefore GBC resolutions to that effect must be removed.
The purpose for asking for interim orders is so that no matter how long the opposition attempts to tie up and stall the case in the legal system, we will get some immediate relief, and do not need to wait for the case to be completely concluded before some measure of justice is granted.
Based on the above, even without waiting to hear from the defendants who were not even present at this hearing, the judge immediately passed the following order:
In the High Court at Calcutta, Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdction
Before The Hon'ble Justice Sujit Kumar Sinha
" [ ] In that view of the matter, there will be an ad-interim order of injunction restraining the defendant no. (1) from giving any effect of its purported resolution dated 14the February, 1999 until further orders."
Let this application appear on 31.03.99.
He further stated that he wanted to at least hear from the defendants before preventing them from initiating. The next hearing was on 31st March and April 1st. At this time the defendants tried to get the whole case thrown out. The judge then decided the following:
Tender No. 449 of 1999
Adridharan Das & Ors.
ISKCON Governing Body Commission
We on behalf of the plaintiffs abovenamed hereunder quote further interim order of the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sujit Kumar Sinha made on the 1st April 1999 in the above suit :
"THE COURT: The ad interim order dated March 25, 1999, is clarified only to
this extent that the same shall for the time being be limited to the expulsion, probation and suspension of the plaintiffs. The question as to the validity of the impugned Resolution dated February 14, 1999, and subsequent initiation of the disciples in pursuance thereof, shall abide by the result of the application.
Let the affidavit - in - opposition be filed within April 16, 1999; and the affidavit - in - reply be filed within April 30, 1999. Let the matter appear in the list as a part-heard adjourned motion
on May 3, 1999.
This basically states that the judge will reserve his decision on the validity of the philosophical aspects of the GBC resolution on 'ritvikism', and the right of the Gurus to initiate their own disciples, until he has heard further arguments from both sides, by the end of the month. Rather than saying that the 'court has no jurisdiction over court matters', as alleged by H.H. Jayapataka Maharaja, the Judge has on the contrary stated the OPPOSITE. He is saying the court will decide both the issue of the validity of the resolution regarding the rights and wrongs of 'ritvikism' and the right of the gurus to initiate - this is indicated by the words - 'SHALL ABIDE BY THE RESULT OF THE APPLICATION'.
Further this also means that any initiations carried out from the 1st April,, 1999 until the day the decision is made, which is scheduled provisionally for May 3, 1999, will also have to 'abide by the result of the application', which means that the judgement will apply RETROSPECTIVELY if the court decides in favour of the IRG application. Hence all those thus initiated will have to be considered initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
Thus far from throwing out the main case - which is the issue of how initiations should be carried in ISKCON, the Judge has decided that he will give a ruling on the right of the current Gurus to intiate, and further that the ruling will apply retrospectively from the 1st April.
This in itself was a major victory, in that the defendants main line of argumentation was that the case should be thrown out since the Judge could not decide on 'ecclesiastical ' issues. The Judge however accepted the IRG argument, that the issue was one of a registered institution following directives as required by its own constitution, and thus is covered within the realm of company law.
The Judge has simply decided therefore to give each side 2 weeks each to present its arguments, after which he will make a ruling on the granting of the INTERIM orders.
4) But didn't the IRG agree that as long as the expulsion was rescinded that they would withdraw the court action? Are they not going back on their word?
FACT: Such an agreement was never made. The IRG did suggest that as a PRE-CONDITION for TALKS that COULD lead to the case being dropped following successful negotiations, that the resolution regarding expulsion should immediately be rescinded.
This particular lie that the IRG agreed to drop the case is being propagated particularly by H.H. Jayapataka Maharaja, as in the following e-mail message:
"Lies! ON March 22nd I showed you that the GBC had already voted and the rescinding order was on the way by the courier. You said you wouldn't go to court, but you did anyway."
(E-mail from Maharaja to the Indian Continental Committee, dated 8/4/99)
Yet the GBC's own records show that the GBC rescinding order was passed only on March 27th:
"Resolution passed by correspondance vote of the GBC. Passed on March 27, 1999.
22 members voting
21 votes of approval
1 vote of disapproval
0 Absentions "
Thus no such recission had infact taken place in time for even the talks.
5) But since the expulsion order has been rescinded by the GBC, why is the case still going ahead?
FACT: As already answered above, the case is NOT about the expulsion order anyway. It is about the principle of the GBC needing to adhere to the directives of Srila Prabhupada in order to be called the GBC. In any case what has actually been rescinded is ONLY the expulsion of certain individuals for NOW. Most of the resolution remains, including the BASIS for their expulsion, and the fact that simply BELIEVING in the 'No Change' position is still grounds for expulsion. The rescinding order actually states that:
" the GBC Body hereby rescinds resolution no.302, sub-section 4 - A., B., C., D., of 1999 dated 14th February, 1999 in so far as it declares the persons named therein as unfit to be members and it provides for their expulsion, with power to review the subject matter in future if an occasion so arises. [ ] In the meanwhile, the GBC Body hereby empowers and authorizes the GBC Executive Committee to negotiate and discuss the subject matter with the individuals concerned and take appropriate action if deemed fit, except declaring the said persons as unfit to be members or to expel them, which action, if necessary, would be taken by GBC body itself at the proper time to be determined by the GBC Body.
Thus the GBC body can again expel the said individuals at any time, with the same swiftness and harshness with which they passed the original expulsion resolution, and which they have only now withdrawn, since they have been challenged. The action that the GBC have taken : Very quickly passing an expulsion order, then just as quickly rescinding it as soon as they realised court action was imminent, simply shows that THEY are sending a strong message that they only respond to devotees who actually stand up and fight for the truth. To therefore drop the court action on the basis of the current rescission, is simply inviting re-expulsion at a future date. The same individuals who passed the original resolution only a few weeks ago, have suddenly done a flip-flop. Yet the only thing that has changed is that they realised that there would be a fight on their hands.
Many of the GBC's own supporters have criticised this lack of adherence to principle and sincerity in their actions:
"The news that the expulsions have been rescinded is a shock to devotees, who were feeling that in among all the harsh anti-guru GBC resolutions, at least there was some sign of resolute action against leaders who are devastating the spiritual lives of so many innocent devotees or would be devotees. Now it seems as if these leaders will not only be retained, but will also be allowed to continue their nefarious activities with the blessings of the GBC, and will, side by side, carry on their court case, if they so desire.
Who will have faith in the GBC any more? If a handful of disgruntled leaders are more important than the vast majority of innocent devotees, this means the silent majority of devotees had better look after their own spiritual safety and that of the innocents - they can't depend on the GBC."
(A leading disciple of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, and a leader of the Persian Gulf Yatra)
Thus how along, once the threat of court action has receded, before the GBC suddenly give into other pressures?
Please look out for more relevant information as and when it is available in the next few days.
GBC Facing Perjury Charge in Calcutta High Court
As you know we currently have a landmark court case filed against the GBC and all ISKCON Gurus in the Calcutta High court, where we are calling for the re-introduction of Srila Prabhupada's final July 9th directive. As part of that case, we had submitted our affidavit with documents such as Srila Prabhupada's Last Will and Testament etc., in support. The GBC had also tried to reply by submitting their affidavit-in-opposition supported by various documents. One of the documents the GBC submitted in support for their case was ISKCON's Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations. It was attached to their affidavit as 'Annexure E'. Unfortunately the document they submitted differs in one very significant respect from the actual Memorandum of Association which is filed by ISKCON in the Charity Commissioner's office in Bombay. In the original Memorandum of Association, clause 5 states the following:
"5: The full management and control of the affairs of the society shall be entrusted to and vest in the Bureau of the Society." (Original Memorandum of Association)
However in the version filed by the GBC, this clause 5 has now mysteriously disappeared. Instead it has been replaced with the following:
"5A :The Acharya shall mean HDG A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ordained minister and founder Acharya of the society and persons or person appointed by His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada." (Memorandum of Association filed by GBC)
What makes this fabrication even more significant of course is that the clause which they have added, directly allows for the possibility that Srila Prabhupada could and would 'appoint acharyas'. This of course has direct relevance to the case in hand, since it supports the GBC's defence that Srila Prabhupada set up 'Guru/acharyas' to replace him, rather than having the July 9th directive continue. However luckily for the cause of truth, this forgery was spotted by Madhu Pandit prabhu, who as the former secretary of the ISKCON Bureau, as well as being the legal officer for the whole of ISKCON Bureau's affairs in India, was well equipped to catch this deviation from the actual documents which are filed in the Charity Commissioner's office. (The Bureau is the vehicle by which ISKCON is *legally* governed).
This fabrication has very serious implications for the GBC, since by submitting false documents the GBC have actually committed a CRIMINAL offence. And the case we have filed against them calls for appropriate criminal punishment to be meted out. Thus whilst they were struggling to handle our original case, having lost the preliminary rounds, they are now faced with another case, which has even more serious implications. And as we reported in our previous Newsletter, they will now have to also do without the help of their star 'defender of truth', the child rapist, Satadhanya Das.
The relevant clauses from our petition to the court are as follows:
10. It would be evident from a comparative study of the copy of ISKCON's Memorandum of Association as produced by your petitioners herein and the copy of the alleged Memorandum of Association of ISKCON as produced and relied upon by the respondents that clause 5A in the copy of ISKCON's alleged Memorandum of Association produced by the respondents is an unauthorised addition and /or interpolation. In other words, the said purported copy of the alleged Memorandum of Association of ISKCON as produced by the respondents is a forged and /or manufactured document.
11. Your petitioner obtained a certified copy of ISKCON's Memorandum of Association on or about August 1, 1999 and only thereupon your petitioners came to realise that the purported copy of the alleged Memorandum of Association of ISKCON produced and relied upon by the respondents before this Hon'ble Court was is a forged and /or fabricated document.
12. The aforesaid forged document was produced and was sought to be relied upon by the respondents obviously to try and sustain their wrongful contention that the "Ritviks" appointed by Srila Prabhupada can claim to be or set as "Acharyas" or "Guru" in their own right and /or that such ritviks can initiate disciples to ISKCON's order as their own disciples.
13. Your petitioners reiterate that Clause 5A contained in the purported copy of the alleged Memorandum of Association of ISKCON as produced and relied upon by the respondents is the result of forgery, fabrication and /or interpolation and the said Clause does not find place in the actual and authentic copy of the real Memorandum of Association of ISKCON.
14. From the facts and circumstances aforesaid, it would be evident that the concerned respondents have given false evidence by way of, interalia, Annexure "E" to the said affidavit affirmed on their behalf on 30th April, 1999 and filed before this Hon'ble Court. The concerned respondents have given such false evidence knowing or believing the same to be false and touching on material points in issue in the instant proceeding.
19. In the premises, the said respondents have committed offences, inter alia, within the meaning of sections 193, 196, 199, 200 and 209 of the Indian Penal Code and the said respondents are liable to be prosecuted under Section 195 (1)(b) read with Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
20. Your petitioners state and submit that it is expedient in the interest of justice that an enquiry be made into the offences committed by the concerned respondents in and or in relation to the present proceeding and this Hon'ble Court be please to record a finding to that effect and direct the Registrar, Original Side of this Hon'ble Court to lodge a complaint in writing and send it to the Metropolitan Magistrate, Calcutta having jurisdiction to try the offences so that the said respondents may be punished for committing the said offences.
23. The orders prayed for herein are necessary not only for the purpose of punishing the concerned respondents for having committed the aforesaid offences within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code but also for the purpose of upholding and preserving the dignity, majesty and sanctity of this Hon'ble Court and of the proceedings before it. No litigant should be allowed to get away with impunity after having given false evidence on oath before this Hon'ble Court deliberately and intentionally as the said respondents have done in the instant case.
Your petitioner, therefore humbly prays to Your Lordships for the following orders :
a) An enquiry be made into the offences committed by the concerned respondents within the meaning of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in relation to the above suit.
b) After such enquiry as mentioned in prayer (a) above, this Hon'ble Court be pleased to record a finding that an enquiry should be made as to the offences committed by the concerned respondents within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code as stated in this petition.
c) A written complaint be lodged or directed to be lodged by this Hon'ble Court in respect of the aforesaid criminal offences committed by the concerned respondents to the Magistrate having jurisdiction in the matter with a direction to institute appropriate criminal proceedings against the said respondents.
d) Sufficient security be taken by this Hon'ble court for ensuring appearance of the concerned respondents before the Learned Magistrate.
e) An order be passed binding over the concerned respondents to appear and give evidence before the Learned Judge.
f) An order be passed sending the concerned respondents (including the principal officers of the respondent No. 1) in custody of the Learned Magistrate
(Extracts From the Petition Submitted to the Court)
If found guilty the GBC will now be facing imprisonment.
Of course the GBC may have some legitimate reason why the Memorandum of Association that they have submitted differs from that registered in the Charity Commissioner's office. They may try argue that Srila Prabhupada sanctioned such an amendment to be made. However this would then only raise further problems. Since then they would be guilty of having registered the society all these years with a false registration document - which would then give rise to another court case, which would have implications for the whole of ISKCON.
Either way the chances that the GBC will prevail in this court case, and thereby continue to defy Srila Prabhupada's final orders, are receding daily.
We will keep you updated on further developments.
2. IRM Devotees Ready For Court Action in USA
We have reported in the past about the intimidation and threats that our New York devotees have received from the 'official' ISKCON temple in Brooklyn (Please see story 'Showdown in Brooklyn', Newsletter No. 4). However we also reported that our IRM (ISKCON Revival Movement) devotees were undeterred and continued to visit the temple in Brooklyn, and openly speak to anyone who wished to hear, about Srila Prabhupada's Final Order. Being unable to silence them, this campaign of harassment by the temple authorities culminated last year with the Temple President of New York, Romabhadra Das, issuing the following threatening letter to the IRM devotees:
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
305 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, New York 11217
October 31, 1999
Re: Warning Letter of Proponents of the ISKCON Outlawed Deviant "Ritvikism" theory.
Brahma Bhuta das, Vani dasi, Jayananda das, Bhakta Avatar das.
Dear Brahma Bhuta das, Vani dasi, Jayananda das Bhakta Avatar das
Please accept my respects.
This is a final warning letter concerning your propagation of the deviant "Ritvik" theory at the Hare Krishna Temple. This deviant "Ritvik" theory has been outlawed in ISKCON and is a danger to our many loyal and devoted congregation members.
Unless all of you cease and desist to propagate this outlawed deviant philosophy here at the temple we will have to revoke your membership and prohibit you from attending any temple functions. Please cooperate and behave according to the rules of ISKCON. I hope this meets you in the best of health.
Your insignificant servant,
Of course this warning letter is nothing new in the pattern of violence and harassment that the GBC and its agents have perpetrated in order to maintain their defiance of Srila Prabhupada's Final Order.
However what was completely new and unprecedented, was what was to come next. Normally devotees are forced to give in to these bully boy tactics. However as we have shown with our court case in India, the IRM will fight back every inch of the way, and are not going to passively allow such intimidation to scare us. We immediately hit back by having the following letter from our New York attorneys served upon the whole board of the Brooklyn temple:
Gary Edward Hanna, Attorney at Law,
225 Broadway Suite 2700,
New York, New York 10007
November 12, 1999
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
305 Schermerhorn Street Brooklyn, New York 11217
Re: Warning letter
Dear Ramabhadra das a/k/a David P. Britten, President:
Please allow this letter to serve as formal notice of our representation of
Brahma Buta, Jayananda Dasa, Vani Devi Dasi, and Bhakta Avatar, also known respectively
as Bill Wulfhoop, John Joseph, Bonnie Oshuns and Bhikhabhai Patel, who are all
members of the temple.
Pursuant to your warning letter of October 31, 1999 and the defamatory statements made to temple members concerning the above individuals on the same date, you are hereby placed on formal notice to immediately CEASE and DESIST from any behaviour or communication which seek to harass or infringe on the religious freedoms and individuals liberties of these members.
In addition, any repeat of threats of physical violence against these members, which were in fact made by one Arthur Cussee, a/k/a Adi-deva, at the temple on September 12, 1999 will be met with the swiftest reaction to the appropriate authorities.
You DO NOT have the authority to prohibit these law abiding members from expressing their constitutionally protected rights of free speech or to prohibit anyone from attending temple functions, regardless of whether those views deviate from your own, or are considered in your opinion, to be "dangerous".
In the spirit of conciliation, this office would be happy to speak with you regarding these differences. However, please do not underestimate our intentions to protect the constitutional rights of our clients. If necessary, we will seek an immediate restraining order and will follow with a Federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York for damages based on your illegal practices. Please do not make this course of action necessary.
Very truly yours,
Gary E. Hannah E. Hanna
Attorney at Law, New York
Suffice it to say that since this letter was received, we have not had any more threats from the New York Temple, and to the contrary the board members have treated our devotees very well.
The moral of the story is that as everyone knows, the simplest way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. For 20 years, the GBC have had it easy, with no united and organised opposition to fight them. The official formation of the IRM in October 1999, has put paid to this state of affairs. We have organisation, men and money ready for the long fight ahead. As we said before, we will not rest until Srila Prabhupada's movement is returned back to Srila Prabhupada, brick by brick. We are not going anywhere. We are here to stay until the REAL and ORIGINAL Hare Krishna Movement, registered by Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON in 1966, will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes, with ONLY Srila Prabhupada at the helm.
The notice has been served. Time is running out for the pretenders to Srila Prabhupada's throne.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada !
Iskcon Revival Movement (IRM) http://come.to/irm