involvement of Government of India
During Auroville's first few years, from 1968 to
1973, the Mother directly guided the project. After her passing in November
1973, the residents of Auroville soon found themselves in confrontation
with the Sri Aurobindo Society, who claimed control over the project.
From this time onwards, the community started to create and experiment
with its own organisational structure.
Auroville Emergency Provisions Act 1980
In 1980, responding to requests from the residents,
the Government of India passed the Auroville Emergency Provisions Act,
whereby the management of all assets and undertakings relatable to Auroville
were, for a limited period of time, vested in the Government of India.
The Sri Aurobindo Society subsequently challenged the constitutional
validity of the Act, on the main ground that Auroville was a religious
denomination and that the Government had violated the Indian Constitution
by passing the Act. In November 1982 the Constitution Bench of the Supreme
Court of India judged that Auroville did not constitute a religious
denomination, and that the teachings of Sri Aurobindo only represent
his philosophy and not a religion. The validity of the Act was upheld.
The Auroville Emergency Provisions Act initiated
a period of renewed stability and growth. An Administrator, appointed
by the Government of India, was the official manager of all assets.
An International Advisory Council was set up under the Act to advise
the Government of India on Auroville matters. It met for the first time
in Delhi in February 1981. Its members were Mr. M'Bow, then Director
General of UNESCO; the late Mrs. Ludmila Zhivkova, then Minister of
Culture and Education, Bulgaria; Mr. Narasimha Rao, then Minister of
Education, later Prime Minister of India; and late Mr. J.R.D. Tata,
Indian industrialist. Mr. Kireet Joshi, then Special Secretary Ministry
of Education, Government of India, was the Council's Secretary. The
Council further met in Delhi in 1983, '85 and '86. Mr. Narasimha Rao,
Mr. M'Bow, Mr. J.R.D. Tata and Mr. Kireet Joshi came to Auroville in
August 1986, while Mrs. Zhivkova had visited Auroville earlier, in 1981.
Auroville Foundation Act 1988
In September 1988, the Government of India protected
Auroville once again by passing a unique Act of Parliament, the
Auroville Foundation Act, 1988. This act provided, in the public
interest, for the acquisition of all assets and undertakings relatable
to Auroville without payment of compensation. These assets, which till
then were managed by the Administrator under the Auroville Emergency
Provisions Act, were temporarily transferred to the Government of India,
with the aim of ultimately vesting them in a body corporate established
for the purpose, the Auroville Foundation.
The Auroville Foundation came into existence in January 1991. The assets
were vested in the Foundation on April 1st, 1992.
Legal protection of name and emblem of Auroville
In July 1999, the Government of India accorded special
protection to the name 'Auroville' and its emblem under the Emblems
and Names (Prevention of improper Use) Act 1950.
Special visa status for Aurovilians
Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all
countries are able to live in peace and harmony, above all creeds, all
politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise
Acknowledging that Auroville is an International
Cultural Township, the Government of India has passed a special visa
regulation for Auroville. The Secretary of the Auroville Foundation
will normally, upon the recommendation of Auroville's Entry Group, recommend
to the Indian Embassy concerned the issue of a so-called Entry Visa.
This Entry Visa will form the basis on which the authorities in India
will later issue a Residential Permit. The Entry Visa and the Residential
Permit are valid for periods up to five years, and are only available
for a person's stay in Auroville. Consequently, there is no need for
a separate work permit or a financial guarantee for one's stay in Auroville.