A metropolitan court on September 27 dropped charges against six persons including a Jain monk, in connection with accusations of promoting ‘Bal Diksha’. The issue was first raised nine years ago. The accused had forged a government notification to make it seem that the practice of Bal Diksha was legal.
In 2013, Rashmin Shah filed a criminal complaint against Jain monk Kirti Yashsurisvar Maharaj, Dr Ramesh Vora, Bharat Shah, Shantilal Jhaveri, Himanshu Raja and Chetan Mehta, accusing them of publishing a forged government notification, which favoured the practice of luring children to renounce the world also called—Bal Diksha. The forged document stated that the religious ritual which involves renunciation of the world by children is legal. Shah made the complaint before the Mumbai police commissioner, who transferred it to Gujarat.
A metropolitan court summoned the six for proceedings on pre-charge evidence.
As the monk was not present, the court issued multiple warrants against him. Yashsurisvar filed a petition in the high court requesting it to cancel the warrants issued against him. The monk, in his petition, said his health doesn’t permit him to walk more than 10-12 km per day, so he will not be able to cover 2,200 km on time to appear before the court. He asked the court to be given eight months’ time to report before it. The monk told the court that as per Jain traditions he cannot take a vehicle to cover the distance.
Meanwhile, those accused of forging the notification approached the Gujarat high court to quash the proceedings against them, which were shot down by the HC.
According to the complainant’s advocate, Nitin Gandhi, the complainant could examine only four witnesses and had wanted to examine 12 others, but the court did not permit him to do so. The complainant demanded a change of court and even wrote to the HC’s chief justice, alleging partiality by the presiding officer.
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