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The Experiment

August '02

 

On decision making May '02

Proposal May '02

 

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The residents of Auroville tenaciously keep working on the formulation of an organisational proposal that is agreeable to all, while including - as far as possible - the main aims and principles of the Auroville vision.

Our latest effort in this direction is 'The Experiment' proposal, where emphasis is particularly given to the reaching of binding decisions by agreement, agreement.., agreement..

Harmonising process of the Residents Assembly

As per the Auroville Foundation Act, the Residents Assembly consists of all residents of Auroville who are entered in the register of residents. One of the main functions of the Residents Assembly is to arrive at conclusions in regard to issues put before it.

In principle, approval of policies or mandates of groups, or harmonization of conflicts affecting the community as a whole can be made in Residents Assembly meetings. It is however unlikely that the various steps inherent to a collective harmonizing process can be carried out in meetings in which the totality of the residents would be present.

Therefore, the conclusion of the Residents Assembly with regard to any proposition or problem may be arrived at by the following procedures:

The Working Committee will invite all residents well in advance to participate in a Residents Assembly Meeting to deliberate a specific issue, the nature of which will have been clearly communicated beforehand in written form and at meetings. Members of the Auroville Resource Group are expected to be present in this meeting.

A. First round of Meetings

  1. The Working Committee, or another group empowered by the Residents Assembly, will present the specific issue to the Residents Assembly, consisting of all those who will have accepted to attend the meeting. If during this first meeting a clear consensus can be found, the issue is closed. The decision thus arrived will be published in the AVNews and Intranet and will become effective two weeks after the announcement. In case a substantial number of Auroville Residents (50% of the total attending the Residents Assembly meeting or a minimum of 50 people, whichever is higher) protests through reasoned argumentation against this decision during this two-week period, the Working Committee will call for another RA to review the decision.

  2. If no consensus can be found at this meeting then an invitation will be issued to all residents of Auroville, including those who are not attending this meeting, to indicate if they are willing to participate actively in the deliberations at every subsequent meeting regarding this specific issue. The group of residents thus created in order to deliberate and resolve a specific issue will be called the Task-oriented Residents Assembly with regards to issue X. Their names will be recorded by the Working Committee. The group dissolves once the issue has been resolved or a policy been adopted.

At the first meeting of the Task-oriented Residents Assembly, those who have different points of view will present them as clearly as possible, preferably in writing beforehand. Individuals who cannot attend the meeting because they have other commitments will have the possibility to send their view in writing. Oral statements may be tape-recorded and transcribed. These statements will be available to all those who are willing to study the problem.

This meeting of the Task-oriented Residents Assembly with regards to issue "X", in which also a large number of Auroville Resource Group members are expected to be present, may constitute study-group(s) to study the various aspects of the issue. The study group(s) may be constituted on the advice of the conflicting parties or independently of them or both. Each party may also constitute its own study group.
The basic understanding will be that all study groups will do their work expeditiously and will discuss among themselves relevant issues with utmost efforts to arrive at agreement.
The Working Committee and its Secretariat, or another group empowered by the Residents Assembly, will ensure that due process is followed throughout the various rounds.

B. Second Round

The Task-oriented Residents Assembly with regards to issue "X" will have its second round of meetings, consisting of those who have agreed to participate actively and regularly in the consideration of the issue.

At this point the following groups exist:

  1. The Task-oriented Residents Assembly (TORA) with regards to issue "X", consisting of all residents who have committed their ongoing participation in the process of finding agreement.

  2. Study group or groups

Note: Those who for various reasons cannot physically attend the deliberations may also participate via email or other means.


At this meeting the various aspects will be presented by the study group(s) and clarifications will be sought and answered. New points of view, if they emerge, will also be taken into consideration.

Once again, efforts will be made to arrive at agreement.

If agreement is reached, that agreement will be the conclusion and decision of the Task-oriented Residents Assembly with regards to issue "X". The decision thus arrived at will be published in the AVNews and Intranet and will become effective two weeks after the announcement. In case a substantial number of Auroville Residents (50% of the total of those who attended the TORA meeting, or at least 50 people, whichever is higher) protests against this decision during this two week period, the Working Committee will call for another RA to review the decision.

The meetings of the sub-groups of the Task-oriented Residents Assembly comprising the Second Round may take as long time as felt necessary by the majority of the participants to reach a conclusion.

If an agreement among the groups is not reached, the Task-oriented Residents Assembly with regards to issue X will run a vote on the issue. If the matter is of a very high importance which will have permanent consequences for Auroville, only a majority vote of 75% of the meeting of the Task-oriented Residents Assembly in favour of the conclusion will be carried.

In other matters, the Task-oriented Residents Assembly and the Auroville Resource Group may decide what should be the percentage of a vote that will be considered to be adequate for a decision.

This decision will be then recorded as a resolution of the Residents Assembly. It will be communicated to all residents by the Working Committee. The decision thus arrived will be published in the AVNews and Intranet and will become effective two weeks after the announcement.

In case a substantial number (50% of the total of the previous TORA meeting or 50 people, whichever is higher) of Auroville Residents protests against this decision during this two week period, the Working Committee, or any other body empowered by the Residents Assembly, will initiate the Third Round.


C. Third Round

The Auroville Resource Group with the help of the Working Committee will consider how to proceed next. This may involve restarting the whole process, community-wide referendum, voting, or any other means which it is felt is appropriate to reach genuine agreement.

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