Bombay High Court Upholds Decision to Halt Osho Ashram Land Sale, Orders Special Audit

Bombay High Court dismisses Osho International Foundation's plea to sell Koregaon Park land, orders special audit, amid opposition from 'rebel' faction.

The Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition filed by the Osho International Foundation (OIF), a public trust, challenging the joint charity commissioner's order denying permission to sell ashram land in Pune's Koregaon Park for Rs 107 crore. The division bench upheld the commissioner's decision, stating that the OIF failed to make a "genuine and compelling case" for the sale of prime land.

The court directed the OIF to refund the earnest amount of Rs 50 crore without interest to Rajivnayan Rahulkumar Bajaj and Rishab Family Trust, who had offered to purchase the land. The OIF confirmed returning the amount.

A faction within the OIF, known as the 'rebel group,' has been opposing the sale of ashram land.

Furthermore, the high court upheld the joint charity commissioner's order for a special audit of the OIF's accounts from 2005 to 2023. The audit will be conducted by two special auditors appointed by the Assistant Charity Commissioner, Greater Mumbai Region, within one month from the court's order.

The court mandated the trustees and managers of the trust to provide all necessary records and cooperate with the auditors during the audit process.

The OIF cited financial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for wanting to sell part of the ashram's land, stating that the regular activities were adversely affected, impacting cash flow and financial obligations for maintaining the premises.

Swami Chaitanya Keerti, representing the Osho 'rebel group,' hailed the court's decision, emphasizing the need for proper management of trust activities and supporting further investigation by competent auditors. He stressed the importance of inclusivity for all Osho lovers worldwide to meditate and celebrate at the ashram.

Amrit Sadhana, a spokesperson for the Osho International Meditation Resort, mentioned that they are studying the court's order.