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Can A Minor Become A Swami? Karnataka High Court To Examine Legality Of ‘Bala Sanyasa’

[14 September 2021]
The Karnataka High Court appointed Senior Advocate SS Naganand as amicus curiae to assist the court in a petition questioning the legality of appointing 16-year-old Aniruddha Saralathaya (now named as Vedavardhana Tirtha) as the Peetadhipathi of the Shiroor Mutt in Udupi. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, issued the directions while hearing the petition filed by P. Lathavya Acharya and Ors. The first petitioner is the secretary and managing trustee of Sri Shiroor Mutt Bhaktha Samiti, Udupi, while other petitioners are office bearers of the samiti. During the hearing, the court queried with the counsel appearing for the petitioner on whether there was any law preventing a minor child from becoming a swami. To this, Advocate D R Ravishankar appearing for the petitioner said, “The practice of balasanyasa or imposition of sanyasa on a minor amounts to material abandonment of the minor and that it violates the rights of the minor guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and consequently such practice violates Article 39 (e) & (f) of the Constitution of India.”

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