Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Supreme Court refuses to entertain spiritual guru’s plea seeking protection of woman from illegal custody of her parents

The Court said taking into account peculiar facts and circumstances we are not inclined to interfere in this matter

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea filed by a spiritual guru seeking to free a 21-year-old woman from the illegal custody of her parents claiming that she considered him to be her spiritual live-in partner and challenged a Kerala high court order giving custody to her parents against her choice. (Dr. Kailas Natarajan Vs The District Police Chief & Ors) 

Today the matter was listed before the bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, and Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy. The Bench said, “taking into account peculiar facts and circumstances we are not inclined to interfere in this matter.”

The Court was hearing a man who claimed to have renounced worldly life of a doctor at the age of 42 years despite completing MRC (Psych) from London, filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the Kerala HC’s decision to send 21-year-old Lekshmi by citing the SC’s Hadiya case judgment, where the constitutional court had given weightage to the right of an adult woman to choose her life partner while insulating her from parental influence even when her father had alleged that it was a case of ‘love jihad’. 

He has alleged that the woman is in illegal detention by her parents and said, “the High Court sent the woman to her parents and family members despite she having clearly stated that she was under illegal custody, that she was subjected to physical violence and that she desired to go with the petitioner, who is her spiritual live-in partner and acharya.” The High Court had directed the police to conduct a detailed inquiry into the antecedents of the Petitioner.

Also Read: Punjab and Haryana HC grants protection to Muslim woman who converted to Hinduism for marriage

“Infuriated by her choice to practice Vedantic principles of Moksha, Sanyasa and divine yoga with the petitioner, her parents harassed and tortured her, which was evident from a number of emails she sent to the petitioner as well as to the Kerala State Human Rights and Women Commission (on which no action has been taken yet) detailing this. In addition to threats to her, even the petitioner has been threatened with honour killing by her parents,” he alleged.

“Lekshmi being an adult and well-educated woman (who also has a brilliant academic record and has won gold medals in her college) has her freedom to choose her own way of life and casting doubt on her personal preferences in any manner needs to be curtailed. Yet, the High Court ignored her explicit choice and replaced it with its own opinion,” he said.

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