The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain the appeal of a ‘spiritual guru’ of a 21-year-old woman against the Kerala High Court order granting her custody to the parents and said she was in a fragile state of mind. The plea sought that the woman is allowed to live with the man for spiritual life as per her choice.
Declining the relief, the top court made a reference to Britney Spear’s case in the US where the pop singer is fighting a legal battle to end the conservatorship by her father and said that there even the treatment for an illness cannot be started without consent of the person. A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said that in India families face a lot of difficulties and nobody usually admits that there is some kind of mental problem with the child.
She went to this gentleman for treatment and this gentleman started developing intimacy…however that is different issue… Ultimately, we are looking at the interest of the girl. This is the case we don’t want her to go with the petitioner. Its better she lives with the parents. We know the situation of ‘Guru ji’ and ‘Swami ji’," the bench observed. Referring to the antecedent of 42-year-old ‘spiritual guru’ Kailas Natarajan who had even faced alleged sexual assault cases under POCSO, the bench rejected the plea that she has been an adult and be allowed to exercise her fundamental right to live as per her choice and said, she is in fragile state of mind…
The top court took into consideration the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case while refusing to entertain the appeal against the high court’s order granting the custody of the woman to the parents. However, the bench asked the Registrar General of the Kerala High Court to take steps to produce the woman before the District Judge concerned after one month and the District Judge would examine her and sent a report on her treatment and condition to the apex court.
Natarajan, in his plea, said that he was the ‘spiritual guru’ of the woman, an adult, who wanted wanted to live with him for a ‘spiritual life’, and her parents were opposing her wishes. The high court had dismissed his petition after expressing doubts about the decision making capacity of the woman and had also expressed doubts about the antecedents of Natrajan.
Senior advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan said that the high court took a “paternalistic approach" by denying an adult girl woman right to take independent decisions for herself. The petitioner is not seeking the woman, but she be set her free from “illegal detention" of her parents as its a question of liberty, the lawyer said.
“This is not a matter where we can interfere, the bench said.