'Constitution doesn't bar minor from becoming Sanyasi'

Constitution doesn't bar a minor from becoming 'Sanyasi': Karnataka HC

Citing the example of Buddhism where children become monks, the bench said there was no rule as to the age when a person can be initiated into 'Sanyas'

A view of the Karnataka High Court in Bengaluru. Credit: DH File Photo

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition against the anointment of a minor as the seer of Udupi's Shiroor Mutt saying there is no constitutional or statutory bar on anyone becoming a 'Sanyasi'.

The petitioner P Lathavya Acharya, who is a secretary and managing trustee of Sri Shiroor Mutt Bhakta Samiti, Udupi and three others of the Samiti questioned the anointment of Aniruddha Saralathaya (Sanyas name Vedavardhana Teertha), who is under the age of 18 years.

The division bench of acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar said the petitioner failed to make out any violation of any statutory or constitutional provisions by the anointment of Saralathaya as the head of the Shiroor Mutt.

"The courts are certainly not meant to write the religious text, however, they are under an obligation to follow the religious text in the matter of cases dealing with religious dispute and to follow the old practices, which are prevalent in religion so long as they do not violate constitutional rights of an individual," the benched noted.

Citing the example of Buddhism where children become monks, the bench said there was no rule as to the age when a person can be initiated into 'Sanyas'.

It also said, "The court is not a theological wizard and shall be transgressing its role as a constitutionalist authority by interfering with the essential religious practice, which is certainly not at all opposed to public order, morality, health or any other fundamental right."

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