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Bal Diksha: Final hearing on August 1

    Mumbai (Maharashtra), July 4, 2012: Observing that determining the position of religious custom of Bal Diksha in Jainism under the law would be a complex matter, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday posted the case for final hearing on August 1.

    The court was hearing a petition filed by Ashok Bagricha — father of Priyal from Madhya Pradesh who was ordained as a Jain Sadhvi in 2004 at the age of eight — and various Jain trusts who had contended that the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) cannot interfere in the case of Bal Diksha, as it is a centuries-old custom in the religion.

    In July, 2006, pursuant to court directives, the CWC had interviewed the girl and submitted a report to the court stating that the girl gave tutored replies and was in need of care.

    The parents of the girl, known as Sadhvi Preetvashashriji after adopting Bal Diksha, and a trust, Shri Jeevatlal Chandrabhan Kothari Jain Sangh in Malad that trained the girl, had challenged this report in the HC.

    Citing his personal experience, Justice D Y Chandrachud said he had witnessed young Lamas being initiated into monasteries in the North. He said a decision in the case would have wide ramifications.

    The central government counsel Rui Rodrigues informed the court that the government was yet to take a stand on the issue but would do so at the time of final hearing.

    Earliler, Rodrigues had placed a gazette notification of July 13, 2009 before the court, which stated that Bal Diksha, Bal Sadhvi, Bal Sanyasi or Bal Sadhu as practiced under the Jain religion do not come under the provisions or the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 or the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.

    However, he told the court that this was not the stand of the government as the effectiveness of the notification was yet to be ascertained by the Centre. – News Courtesy: The Indian Express

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