BENGALURU, INDIA, September 29, 2021 (The Hindu): The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday rejected a petition against anointment of a minor boy as the 31st seer of Udupi Shiroor Mutt while holding that there is no statutory or constitutional bar on a person aged below 18 being initiated into sanyasa. “The petition has not been able to make out violation of any statutory provisions or any violation of constitutional rights guaranteed to respondent Aniruddha Saralathaya (now named Vedavardhana Titrtha) as the peetadhipathi of Shiroor Mutt. The essential religious practice has been going on for 800 years and the appointment of a pontiff is a practice for the last 800 years indicative of the philosophy and teaching of Sri Madhvacharya,” the court said.

“The courts are certainly not meant to write the religious text, however, they are under an obligation to follow the religious text in the matter of cases dealing with religious dispute and to follow the old practices which are prevalent in religion so long as they do not violate constitutional rights of an individual,” the Bench said. “In religions like Buddhism, children of tender age have become monks. There is no rule as to the age when sannyasa diksha can be given. Also, there is no statutory much less constitutional bar on a person less than 18 years being initiated into sanyasa,” the Bench observed.