'Incapable Of Taking A Decision For Herself' : Kerala High Court Dismisses Habeas Plea Of 'Spiritual Guru' For Release Of Woman From Parent's Custody

22Jan,2021

'Incapable Of Taking A Decision For Herself' : Kerala High Court Dismisses Habeas Plea Of 'Spiritual Guru' For Release Of Woman From Parent's Custody

The High Court of Kerala rejected a habeas corpus petition filed by a man claiming to be a 'spiritual guru' trying to seek the release from custody of his parents of a 21-year-old woman who is said to be his 'spiritual live-in partner' (Dr. Kailas Natarajan v State of Kerala and others).
The Division of Justices K Vinod Chandran and MR Anitha dismissed the petition after finding that the woman was “incapable of taking a decision for herself" and that her "parents were best capable of dealing with her present situation"
In the case of Hadiya, the division bench differentiated the Supreme Court's judgment by holding that its encounters with the woman implied that she had "vulnerability occasioned by mental disturbance". However, in the instant case, the bench opined, on the basis of its interactions with the woman, that the woman was of a vulnerable mental condition.
A 52-year-old man, who claimed to have renounced worldly life and separated from his wife and daughters ten years ago, filed a habeas corpus petition. He said that the woman was his "spiritual live-in partner and yoga shishya" and claimed that her parents were unlawfully confining her.
The High Court had asked for a police report on the petitioner's credentials. It was confirmed on local investigation that there is no knowledge of the petitioner having any supporters. The petitioner is not recorded to be living a socially appropriate life and has difficulties describing the means and aims of his spirituality. The Court also noted that nothing had been created by the petitioner to demonstrate his argument that he was a 'spiritual guru'. The police further claimed that in a POCSO case registered in 2013, the petitioner was convicted after a 14-year-old girl accused him of sexual harassment under the pretext of therapy. She withdrew the accusation during the investigation, however, and because there was no factual evidence other than her argument, the petitioner was removed from the list of suspects. Though the petitioner had approached the Supreme Court against the interim order passed on January 11 by the HC, the top court refused interference.