Karnataka HC upholds Legality of Bala Sanyasa

Shivangi Prakash-

Published On: September 29, 2021 at 15:44 IST

On Wednesday, the Karnataka High Court confirmed the legality of “Bala Sanyasa,” ruling that there is no legal barrier to a minor becoming a Swami.

The phrase ‘Bala Sanyasa’ refers to any minor who wants to become a Swami or a Sanyasi.

The Judgement was handed down by a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum while dismissing a Writ Petition challenging the legality of 16-year-old Aniruddha Saralathaya (now known as Vedavardhana Tirtha) being appointed as the Peetadhipathi of the Shiroor Mutt in Udupi.

During today’s hearing, the Bench read the following excerpt from the verdict.

“In other religions like Buddhism, children of tender age have become monks. There is no rule as to on which age sanyasa/bhiksha can be given. Also, there is no statutory there no statutory much less constitutional bar on a person less than 18 years being initiated into sanyasa.”

The religious texts included in the Amicus Curiae’s arguments make it very evident that Religion authorizes a person to become a Sanyasi.

In this instance, the Shirur Mutt is a religious denomination, and the Respondent has become a Sanyasi and has been designated as the Shirur Mutt’s peetadhipati, according to the necessary religious procedures.

As a result, there is no reason to believe that the mutt’s core religious activities are infringing on Constitutional Rights.

P. Lathavya Acharya, who was represented by Advocate D R Ravishankar, had maintained that compelling a juvenile to engage in “material abandonment” was a breach of Article 21 of the Constitution.

“A minor cannot be forced with doing what is not suiting his age. Anointing a minor as chief pontiff amounts to imposing material abandonment on the child, which is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. In substance, there cannot be a sannyasa because that will require him (minor) to include material abandonment”, the Petitioner had argued.

The Amicus said, “In the event of the head of one of the Mutts passing away without nominating his successor, the head of the paired Mutt has the authority to appoint such successor. This custom has found judicial recognition by way of a judgement of a Division Bench of the Madras High Court in the case of Bheemanakatte Mutt, AIR 1917 Mad 809.

On the basis of maintainability, the State Government’s Counsel also rejected the Petition.

Also Read: Karnataka HC dismisses Petition seeking revenue losses from Transport Corporation

Related Post