1 BETWEEN : IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU W.P. No. /2016 Sri. Edurkala Ishwara Bhat & Ors Petitioners AND : Sri. Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swamy & Ors Respondents SYNOPSIS SL. DATE EVENTS NO Sri Raghaveshwara Bharathi (1 st Respondent) took over the reins of Ramachandrapura Math (2 nd Respondent) One Smt. Premalatha and her husband, Mr. Divakar Shastry complained about the sexual relationship between the 1 st Respondent and Smt. Premalatha as well as other acts unbecoming of the Seer to the elder devotees of the Math The 1 st Respondent announces that he will renounce the position/responsibility of the Peetadhipathi of the 2 nd Respondent Math, which is widely covered by the media As a counter blast to the concerns raised by Smt. Premalatha and her husband with senior devotees of the Math, a false complaint is given by showing it to be at the behest of certain devotees of the 2 nd Respondent Math. A FIR was registered against the couple in CR.No.324/2014 at Honnavar Police Station The 1 st Respondent engineers a pre-emptive false black mail case and gets Mrs. Premalatha Divakar and her husband Mr. Divakar Shastry arrested by Honnavar Police Smt. Premalatha, subsequent to her arrest, files a brief complaint of rape before Additional JMFC, on the date she was produced before the Magistrate. It is mentioned in the order sheet that Smt.Premalatha had filed a complaint and the Judge noted the same and said that it should be kept in safe custody.
2 Ms.Amushumathi Shastry, the daughter of Smt. Premalatha and Mr.Divakar Shastry lodges a complaint against the 1 st Respondent at Banashankari Police Station CR.No.219/2014, which case was transferred to Girinagar Police Station (CR.No.164/2014) alleging heinous offences The 1 st Respondent is able to secure an order injuncting the press and media through the court of Additional JMFC, Honnavar, against Smt. Premalatha and her relatives When the couple was still in the jail, the brother of Mr.Divakar Shastry, Mr.Shyamprasad Shastry commits suicide, unable to with stand the pressure exerted by persons claiming to be devotees of the 2 nd Respondent The police do not include the name of 1 st Respondent in the FIR registered at Puttur (D.K.) Police Station under ref:cr.no.113/ The government also transfers all the three cases to C.I.D. investigation The Girinagar Police who had gone to Kekkar in Honnavar Taluk to arrest the 1 st Respondent, return empty handed for reasons best known to them The 1 st Respondent files a Writ Petition in the High Court of Karnataka requesting the quashing of the case on the ground that it is a false complaint of rape and a conspiracy against him. (W.P.43825/2014 GM-RES). The High Court stays the arrest of the 1 st Respondent until further orders The Girinagar police formally include the Section 376-2f booking the 1 st Respondent on the charges of rape, based on victim s statement at XXIV, ACMMC, Bengaluru This Hon ble Court in W.P.No.43825/2014 took serious note of Honnavar Magistrate of keeping the rape complaint in the safe custody instead of allowing the law to take its course. The High Court, the Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge grants bail to the accused. (Crl.Misc.No.5826/2014) The 1 st Respondent gets bail in the suicide case of Mr.Shyamaprasad Shastry from Additional Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru (Crl.Misc.No.5896/2014).
3 The Government approaches the High Court requesting cancellation of bail given by the Sessions Court in the rape case. The High Court on the next day tells the Government to approach the Sessions Court which has granted the bail The 1 st Respondent brings stay on the medical tests, when notice for the test was given by the CID. The stay was given by the High Court, as the Seer has raised the constitutional validity of conducting the tests without assigning reasons saying it is a violation of the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution (W.P.No.49254/2014GM-RES) CID officials confirm to the High Court during hearing that semen traces were found in the clothes pertaining to the victim The High Court gave its judgment that the 1 st Respondent must undergo complete medical test (W.P.No.49254/2014GM-RES) The 1 st Respondent files a Writ Appeal in WA.27/2015 challenging the order passed in W.P.No.49254/ The division Bench of this Hon ble Court dismisses W.A.2843/ A Special Leave Petition is filed by the 1 st Respondent in Apex court in SLP No.14592/ SLP No.14592/2015 is withdrawn Another complaint is filed against the 1 st Respondent in Girinagar Police Station alleging rape and other heinous offences and the same is registered in Crime No.0257/ The 1 st Respondent is arrested and released on bail in the first rape case st Respondent files Writ Petition No.41508/2015 to quash the notice regarding medical tests CID files charge sheet against the 1 st Respondent in Crime No.164/ CID issues notice to 1 st Respondent to appear for the medical tests on
4 st Respondent does not appear for the medical tests The 1 st Respondent is discharge by the Sessions Judge in CC.No.1242/2016. BRIEF FACTS The Petitioners are all devotees of the 2 nd Respondent Math. The 1 st Respondent is the Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent. The 1 st Respondent has transgressed and violated all norms/dharma prescribed by the scriptures. The 1 st Respondent has indulges in proscribed activities and is an accused in several matters. There are criminal proceedings pending. The 1 st Respondent has been arrested and is released on bail. There is large scale mismanagement and financial irregularities. The 1 st Respondent with his coterie is running amuck. The 1 st Respondent has let down the disciples/devotees as he is a fallen sanyasin. The 1 st Respondent has brought down the name and dignity of the 2 nd Respondent which is a hoary institution of repute. The damage to the 2 nd Respondent and the devotees/disciples and community at large is irreversible. There is no regulatory mechanism. The Government has also turned a blind eye. The present Petition is filed in public interest in relation to the 2 nd Respondent Math and for the betterment of devotees and society at large connected with the 2 nd Respondent Math. The Petitioners are devotees of the 2 nd Respondent Math and are interested in its welfare and proper administration. The Petitioners are not seeking any private remedy in the present petition and the present petition is filed purely in public interest. Bengaluru Date : Advocate for Petitioners
5 5 BETWEEN: IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU (ORIGINAL JURISDICTION) WRIT PETITION No. / Sri. Edurkala Ishwara Bhat, Aged about 69 years, S/o Y. Sham Bhat, No.1791, Dhyana 1 st Main Road, Pipeline Road, T.Dasarahalli, Bengaluru Sri. Jaikrishna A.K., Aged about 50 years, S/o A. Keshava Bhat, No.61, 5 th Main Road, Postal Colony, Sanjayanagar, Bengaluru Smt. Mayuri Gajanana Upadhayaya, Aged about 51 years, W/o Gajanana Subramanya Upadhyaya, No.19, 12 th Cross, Vijayanagar Pipeline Near Teja Home, Vijayanagar, Bengaluru Sri. Kabse Ashokmurthy, Aged about 49 years, S/o Ganaga Naik, Sooranagadde, J.P.Nagara, At Post Sagar, Shimoga District. 5. Sri.Shankar Bhat.G Aged about 50 years S/o.Narayana Bhat.K Gundigadde House, Bellare post, Sullia Taluk, Dakshina Kannada Sri. K. T. Mahabalagiri Hegde, Aged about 69 years, S/o Sri. Thimmappa Hegde Residing at Khandika Village & Post
6 6 Sagara Taluk, Shivamogga District Petitioners AND : 1. Sri Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swamiji Earlier known as Sri Harish Sharma, Aged about 42 years, S/o. Sri Srinivasa Bhat, Residing at Ramashrama, No. 2A, J P Road, Girinagara I Stage, Bengaluru Sri Ramachnadrapura Math Earlier known as Raghottama Math, Ramashrama, No. 2A, J P Road, Girinagara I Stage, Bengaluru Represented by its CEO 3. The State of Karnataka, Department of Revenue, (Muzarai Department), Vikasa Soudha, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Road, Bengaluru The Union of India Dept. of Home Affairs, North Block, Rajpath, New Delhi Represented by its Secretary 5. The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Karnataka CR Buildings, Queens Road, Bengaluru Respondents MEMORANDUM OF WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLES 226 & 227 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA The Petitioners above-named humbly submit as follows: - 1. The present Petition is filed in public interest in relation to the 2 nd Respondent Math and for the betterment of devotees and society at large
7 7 connected with the 2 nd Respondent Math. The Petitioners are devotees of the 2 nd Respondent Math and are interested in its welfare and proper administration. The Petitioners are not seeking any private remedy in the present petition and the present petition is filed purely in public interest. 2. The 1 st Petitioner is a Sanskrit scholar and is a staunch devotee of the 2 nd Respondent. He has been associated with the affairs of the 2 nd Respondent Math very closely. The 2 nd Petitioner is an industrialist. He is one of the very close disciples of the 2 nd Respondent Math and has made substantial donations to it. The 3 rd Petitioner is an artist and has been associated with the various programmes of the 2 nd Respondent. The 4 th Petitioner is a resident of Sagara and has been a devotee of the 2 nd Respondent Math. He is a well-known social activist and has been championing various public causes. The 5 th Petitioner is an ardent devotee of the 2 nd Respondent. The 6 th Petitioner is a renowned philanthropist and has been associated with the establishment of temples, religious centers etc. He and his family members are disciples of the 2 nd Respondent Math. 3. The 2 nd Respondent is a Math propagating Advaita philosophy. It was established in the 8 th Century and was known as Raghottama Math. It has been following the tradition of Sri Jagadguru Adi Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya. It is one of the renowned Maths having huge following of Havyaka Brahmin Community. It is involved in propagation of the tenets of Sanatana Dharma and Indian philosophy, and has been an institution propagating social, religious, philosophical and charitable issues. It has branches at different places like Ramachandrapura in Hosanagara Taluk, Bhankuli in Siddapura Taluk, Tirthahalli in Tirthahalli taluk, Kekkar in Honnavara Taluk, Mani Math in Bantwal taluk, Girinagara in Bengaluru, Raghottama math in Gokarna, Apsarakonda in Bhatkal Taluk etc. The main source of income is from donations and contributions by devotees and public at large. The 2 nd Respondent also derives income from agricultural sources, which is moderate. The main deities of the Math are Sri Rama and Sri Chnadramouliswara. The 2 nd Respondent owns extensive immovable properties throughout the country. The 2 nd Respondent Math has been revered by all sections of the society and is considered a prime institution
8 8 involving Havyaka Brahmins. The 1 st Respondent is under a pious duty and obligation to uphold the interests of the 2 nd Respondent, the presiding deities and is circumscribed by the obligations of the public trust. 4. The 1 st Respondent is the present Pontiff/Mahant of the 2 nd Respondent. It is claimed that the 1 st Respondent is the 36 th Pontiff, who has been anointed as the Mahant /Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math. The Guru of the 1 st Respondent is Sri. Raghavendra Bharati, who was the Mathadhipati and Mahant of the 2 nd Respondent Math for close to 55 years. The 2 nd Respondent Math came to prominence due to the propagation of Dharma and Advaita Philosophy and social, religious, charitable activities and is valued as one of the Maths of prominence in South India. The 2 nd Respondent Math has many institutions under its direct management and control. Considering the prominence the 2 nd Respondent Math acquired over a period of time due to the illustrious Mathadhipatis/Gurus who adorned the Peetha, the 2 nd Respondent Math has huge assets both movable and immovable. In view of the popularity and prominence the Math has acquired over a period of time, the devotees have also been making generous contributions in cash and kind apart from religious endowments that are being dedicated from time to time. 5. The 1 st Respondent was born during the year 1975 in a village called Chaduravalli in Sagar Taluk, Shivamogga District. He was born to Sri. Srinivasa Bhatta and Smt. Vijayalakshmi and was named Sri. Harisha Sharma. As mentioned above, he was anointed as the 36 th Pontiff after initiation into Sanyasashrama by the previous Pontiff/Mahant Sri Raghavendra Bharathi during April After the Mukthi of Sri Raghavendra Bharathi in 1998, the 1 st Respondent has been the Mahant/Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math. 6. The Petitioners submit that the affairs of any Math/religious institution were hitherto before regulated by the Mysore Religious and Charitable Institutions Act, 1927 (hereinafter called Act of 1927 for brevity). The Act of 1927 was repealed by the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, 1997, which took effect from (hereinafter referred to as the Act of 1997 ). Under Section 78 of the Act of 1997, the Act of 1927 and various other enactments of religious and charitable nature were repealed.
9 9 Section 1(4) of the 1997 Act, makes it clear that the provisions of the said act shall not apply to a Math or Temple attached thereto. It is relevant to mention here that the constitutional validity of the Act of 1997 arose for consideration in an Appeal before the Division Bench of this Hon ble Court in Sri Sahasra Lingeshwara Temple Vs. State of Karnataka and another. The Division Bench of this Hon ble Court noticed that there has been a long standing public demand to bring about a uniform law to provide for the regulation of Charitable Endowments and Hindu Religious Institutions in the State. The Division Bench has further found that the laudable object of the better management and administration of religious institutions has not been taken care of and the Division Bench emphasized that the Government has to step in, in the event of any mismanagement financially or otherwise of any Math to protect the money of the Math by way of legislations within the four corners of the Constitution. The Division Bench of this Hon ble Court, inter alia, found that since the Act in the present form had failed in achieving the various objectives, which included the role of the Government in the event of mismanagement of Maths. The entire Act of 1997 was struck down as unconstitutional in the Judgment which is reported in 2007 (1) KLJ Page-1. It is further relevant to mention here that the Judgment of the Division Bench of this Hon ble Court is presently seized by the Hon ble Apex Court and the matter is still pending adjudication there at. 7. The Petitioners submit that the Math is broadly a centre for theological learning. The Math plays an important role in matters relating to moral, social, religious, charitable and philosophical matters. The Math is interpreted variously and unanimously it has been held to be the most important institution relating to the Hindu Religious System. Recently, the Division Bench of this Hon ble Court has held that the Math is akin to a public institution/trust. The person who heads or manages such a Math is called a Mahant or Mathadhipati. Instincts of piety and benevolence, which are implanted in the human nature find expression in such religious and charitable institutions, which are akin to a Trust. The Mathadhipati or the Mahant is a person, who is incharge of the management of the Math and its activities. In that sense, the Mahant or Mathadhipati acts as a Trustee in relation to the affairs and properties of a Math. There can be no doubt that Maths have been established for the
10 10 welfare and wellbeing of the public at large and these institutions are run on the public donations, public support, public contributions, etc. 8. The Petitioners submit that the 2 nd Respondent Math follows Advaita Philosophy and is a Math in the tradition of Sri Jagadguru Adi Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya. The Mahant or Mathadhipati of the Math follows the philosophy and tenets of Advaita propagated by Sri Shankara Bhagavathpadacharya. Normally, the Maths are managed by a Sanyasin or in other words, the one who has taken Sanyasashrama i.e. a state of total renunciation. As to the functions, duties and responsibilities as a Sanyasin are concerned, there are many works, compendiums and commentaries thereon. The most important of such compendiums are (1) Mathamnay Setu or Mahanushasanam, a work of Sri. Shankara Bhagawadpadacharya, commented by Shri. Parmeshawar Nath Mishra, published by Shri. Sadananda Brahmachari Mantri, Shankaracharya Memorial Trust, Dwarka; (2) Yatidharma Sangraha, by Sri. Vishweshawara Saraswathi and published by Anandashrama, Pune; (3) Paramahamsa Dharma Nirnaya by Swamy Ramananda Saraswathi and published by Vani Vilas Press, Srirangam; (4) Paramahamsacharya by Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra, published by Saraswathi Mahal Library, Tanjavur. It would suffice to state that a person who has been initiated into Sanyasashrama is required to lead a celibate life detached from the worldly pleasures, in control of all senses, with all his actions aimed at the welfare of disciples and society at large. He is further required to be a scholar having mastered Vedas and Shastras and is required to follow strictly various rituals practices, observances as mandated by the scriptures. It is for this reason and more so because of the impeccable integrity, observances, detachment, learning and persistent endeavor to improve the philosophical bent of mind of followers and society at large, most of the Mathadhipatis are considered as Guru i.e. Spiritual Preceptor and are held in very high reverence in the society. Such Sanyasins are worshipped and are often seen as means to salvation, which is the prime goal of life under Hinduism. A Mathadhipati, with a very significant role to play under Hindu culture and philosophy, has enormous responsibilities to his disciples and society at large, as he becomes a role model.
11 11 9. The Petitioners submit that the 1 st Respondent, who was given such vital and important role/responsibility of a prestigious Math i.e. the 2 nd Respondent, has failed to discharge his duties and responsibilities as ordained by the religious practices and scriptures. There were many deficiencies and shortcomings which the devotees have resented. One of the prominent devotees by name Dr. T.T. Hegde had addressed a detailed request and humble submission to the 1 st Respondent himself, pointing out the various lacunae in the observances of Sanyasashrama dharma. This written communication, it is given to understand, was necessitated as the 1 st Respondent failed to mend his ways of not following the Sanyasashrama Dharma and its tenets. It was under such circumstances, when the 1 st Respondent did not heed to the fervent pleas and requests made by the devotees, such a communication came to be addressed, which by itself is a very bad blot on the history and tradition of the 2 nd Respondent Math. The copy of the communication sent in the year 2009 is produced as Annexure - A. 10. The 1 st Respondent failed to continue various observances and failed to perform various duties that were expected of him, namely: Adhyayana i.e. the study of Vedanta and Scriptures; Adhyapana i.e. teaching the disciples Vedanta and scriptures; guiding them in the path ordained by Vedas and Shashtras; performing basic Nithyakarma such as Anusthana (basic observances in relation to being a Sanyasin) etc. As a Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math, the 1 st Respondent failed and neglected in the performance of worship of deities of the Peetha, utilize resources of the 2 nd Respondent Math for pious, religious and charitable activities. He also failed to discharge his duties towards the Math, his disciples and the society at large. Some of these aspects are mentioned vividly in the communication sent by the above Dr. T. T. Hegde. It became increasingly clear for 1 st Respondent that these deficiencies were not tolerated by the devotees of the 2 nd Respondent Math. Therefore, as a camouflage, the 1 st Respondent started various schemes such as Goseva, Gosamrakshana, Kanyasamskara, etc. At the cost of repetition, these programs were initiated only to hide from or rather deflect or mislead the devotees about the duties and personal observances that were required by the 1 st Respondent. It is no doubt true that some of the schemes which were undertaken by the 1 st
12 12 Respondent have benefited the society in some ways, but that by itself will not absolve the 1 st Respondent from not adhering to the tenets of Sanyasadharma or Sanyasashrama. Yet another interesting aspect is the fact that the 2 nd Respondent Math was always involved in such activities, such as Gorakshana and others, which were beneficial for its disciples and the society at large even earlier and there was nothing new. It was only by clever tactics of marketing of these social and charitable activities, the 1 st Respondent was able to get some amount of fame and a means to amass a lot of wealth. Unfortunately for the 2 nd Respondent Math, this popularity of the 1 st Respondent made him detract and go away further from the observance, principles and tenets of Sanyasashrama/Sanyasadharma. The above failure on the part of the 1 st Respondent to discharge the basic duties as a Sanyasin and Mathadhipati was the starting point of several other acts, some of which are totally indecent and shocking, which would tarnish the image of the 2 nd Respondent Math beyond repair. The 1 st Respondent on account of the name and fame became more materialistic, got attracted and attached to worldly pleasures and used his role as a Sanyasin and his position as the Mathadhipati to mislead and divert the disciples and the society at large away from Sanatana dharma. The activities of the 1 st Respondent increasingly became one of showmanship with an intention not only to mislead but also at several instances to fool the disciples and other members of the society who looked upon the 2 nd Respondent Math with respect and reverence. The 1 st Respondent, to add insult to injury, apart from deviating from the established role and requirements of a Sanyasin and Mathadhipati started exploiting his popularity and position as a Mathadhipati to satisfy his senses and his carnal desires. 11. The Petitioners submit that one such instances of abuse of his Sanyasashrama and his position as Mathadhipati/mahant of the 2 nd Respondent Math is to have sexual relationship with women, which is totally barred and its acceptance unheard of in the entire history of Sanatana dharma. As a matter of fact, the tenets of Sanyasashrama are so strict that Sanyasins are even prohibited from having any contact with ladies. Be for any reasons whatsoever, such a pious position and responsibilities have been violated obnoxiously by the 1 st Respondent by having sexual relationship with Smt. Premalatha, wife of Sri. Divakara Shastry. The sad unfortunate portion is that the sexual intercourse or
13 13 relationship with the above mentioned lady is during one of the programs of the 2 nd Respondent Math called Ramakatha. It is believed that the 1 st Respondent was sexually exploiting girls (in many instances, minors), ladies and womenfolk and sought to justify such a heinous conduct by proclaiming himself to be none else than the Lord Rama. The very fact that the 1 st Respondent has openly proclaimed that he is the incarnation of Lord Rama would itself speak volumes about the deteriorating mind set of the 1 st Respondent. It is believed that the 1 st Respondent has had continuous sexual contact/relationship with the aforementioned Smt. Premalatha continuously for 4 years. These things came to be known to some of the close and ardent devotees of the 2 nd Respondent, who repeatedly intervened and requested the 1 st Respondent with all humbleness to give up such attitude, exploitation, etc. and if that were not possible then to give up his position as a Mathadhipati and Sanyasin. Such was the ego of the 1 st Respondent that he started in believing that he is not answerable to any one and that he is above the law be it Sanatana dharma or the laws prevalent in the form of legislation/statutes. 12. When the situation became increasingly worst, and some of the devotees confronted the 1 st Respondent with proper facts and truth, the 1 st Respondent as on record, offered to step down as the Mathadhipati and move away to Himalayas. There are interviews which are recorded and there are several news reports that have been published in the leading daily newspapers about his going away to Himalayas. The Petitioners are producing one such interview published in the Kannada daily Udayavani on as Annexure - B. The Petitioners submit that the disciples felt that the 1 st Respondent had realized his guilt and to save the reputation of the 2 nd Respondent institution was willing to step down as the Mathadhipati/mahant, which would not only be in the best interests of the 2 nd Respondent Math, but also the disciples and the society at large. As mentioned above, the 1 st Respondent has no regard or much less regard for either dharma or the law. He had no regard for his own words and even though he had publically announced that he would renounce his position as Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math, to the dismay of his disciples and followers, went back on his words and as a matter of fact, went to the extent of denying having made any such commitment. The fact remains that there was no
14 14 statement, much less a clarification, given by the 1 st Respondent through the reports that were published in the media at the relevant point of time. Most of the devotees were aghast at the course of action adopted by the 1 st Respondent as well as were severely depressed by the fact that the 2 nd Respondent Math was under the control of such a person. The unreasonable conduct and stance of the 1 st Respondent drove the disciples to agitate and bring out in the open the wrong doings of the 1 st Respondent. There were literature and books that were brought out detailing the instances of misconduct, abuse of the belief and trust that the disciples and the followers had in the 1 st Respondent as a Guru and Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math. Any reasonable person/mahant considering the large scale upraise against his conduct which was bringing down the stature and reputation of the 2 nd Respondent Math on a day-to-day basis, would have kept away/resign or given up his position as a Mathadhipati, if not to prove himself as innocent but to save the reputation and stature of the 2 nd Respondent Math. 13. The interest of the 2 nd Respondent Math was the last thought in the mind of the 1 st Respondent. On the contrary, the 1 st Respondent started deploying the resources of the 2 nd Respondent Math to not only undertake a series of measures, which would act as a counter blast to the request made to the 1 st Respondent to step down, but also started misusing the funds and resources of the 2 nd Respondent Math for justifying action which cannot be countenanced by law or by Dharma in any manner whatsoever. One among many such actions that was taken to brutally suppress the voices of the concerned that were growing in the community or among the followers of the 2 nd Respondent Math was to set at motion the criminal law against the persons who were acting in the interest of the 2 nd Respondent Math, who were coming out in open against the 1 st Respondent and his misdemeanor and unbecoming conduct/attitude. A false case was lodged against Smt. Premalatha (with whom the 1 st Respondent had long lasting and standing sexual relationship) and her husband Sri. Divakar Shastry and Sri. C.M. Narayan Shastry, the brother of Sri. Divakar Shastry in the false case of blackmail/ extortion in Crime No.324/2014 registered at the Honnavara Police Station. Smt. Premalatha and Sri. Divakara Shastry were taken into custody by the police and it is widely believed that such drastic steps were taken at the instance of the 1 st Respondent in an attempt to quell the complaints that were
15 15 being made by Smt. Premalatha and Sri. Divakara Shastry in the community /followers and which was likely to be given to police. Under such circumstances, when the aforesaid two persons were taken into custody, the daughter of the above mentioned couple lodged a complaint with the Banashankari Police Station, which was transferred to Girinagara Police Station and registered as Crime No.164/2014. It should be said to the credit of the law enforcing agencies that they took up the investigation immediately, which also included opinion from forensic experts. Ultimately, it became increasingly clear to the 1 st Respondent that his acts of brutal suppression of the aforementioned couple by misuse of his position had not given him the desired results. In order to save himself rather than the 2 nd Respondent Math, the 1 st Respondent immediately approached the Hon ble High Court in a writ petition in W.P. No.43825/2014 seeking quashing of the entire proceedings. The writ petition was entertained by the Hon ble High Court and after noticing the nature of the complaint and the gravity of the situation, it refused to quash the proceedings namely the investigation that was undertaken at the instance of the daughter of Smt. Premalatha and Sri. Divakara Shastry. A copy of the final order dated passed in W.P. No.43825/2014 is produced as Annexure - C. 14. The Petitioners submit that this Hon ble Court during the course of its order in W.P. No.43825/2014 had clearly noticed as to how the repeated complaints/information given by Smt. Premalatha about the commissioning of an offence had not been appropriately dealt with by the concerned judicial officer. Having failed in his attempts to derail the entire investigation process, the 1 st Respondent started impeding and obstructing the investigation process. The 1 st Respondent failed to cooperate with the investigating agencies under the guise of his position as a Mathadhipati and Guru to a large number of the members of the society. The 1 st Respondent went to the extent of filing a petition before this Hon ble Court in W.P. No.49254/2014 challenging the constitutional validity of some of the provisions of law as a façade to prolong and cause obstacles in the investigation by the agencies of the State. The above conduct having been noticed by this Hon ble Court, by an order dated , proceeded to dismiss the Writ Petition No.49254/2014. A copy of which is produced as Annexure - D. Even then 1 st Respondent did not see the writing on the wall that
16 16 his actions were injurious not only to the 2 nd Respondent but also to the belief and trust, which the public reposed on him. The 1 st Respondent unsuccessfully challenged the order dated before a Division Bench of this Hon ble Court in W.A. No.2843/2014. The Petitioners are producing the final order dated passed in the writ appeal as Annexure-E. The Division Bench of this Hon ble Court refrained itself from imposing costs only because the 1 st Respondent was the Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math. There can be no greater disservice by the 1 st Respondent to the 2 nd Respondent Math and ironically the Court refrained itself from imposing costs on the 1 st Respondent only because he was the Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math, which was a public institution and run by the funds contributed by the public at large. The investigating agencies completed their investigation. They filed their charge sheet before the jurisdictional court to the effect that the 1 st Respondent is guilty of commissioning various offences. The copy of the charge sheet in Crime No.164/2014 is produced as Annexure-F. 15. It became increasingly clear and there remained no doubt that the 1 st Respondent was having a sexual relationship with Smt.Premalatha and the entire attempt on the part of the 1 st Respondent was only to subvert the process of law and divert the attention of the people/disciples by taking an unfortunate stance that no offence is committed in the eyes of law. The 1 st Respondent did not even bat an eye lid when it came to protecting the interest, stature and the position of the 2 nd Respondent Math and the irreversible damage that was being caused by various acts of omissions and commissions by the 1 st Respondent. Be that as it may, pursuant to the charge sheet, a case was registered in S.C. No.1242/2015 before the Sessions Court at Bengaluru in relation to the offences that were reported by the investigating agencies of the State. The 1 st Respondent filed an Application for discharge. By an order dated , the 53 rd Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge (Special Court) in SC No.1242/2015 proceeded to discharge the 1 st Respondent, thereby holding that no case of commissioning of any offences as reported by the investigating agencies having occurred. A copy of the order dated is produced as Annexure - G.
17 The Petitioners submit that for the purposes of the present case, various paragraphs in the order dated assume importance and the same are extracted here below for ready reference. 73. When we go through the definition of rape under Section 375of Indian Penal Code, it is the Prosecutrix who went to the accused wherever the accused Mathadapathi was though 169 times she did an act of sex with him, she never resisted at any point of time and place. He did act of sex with her without illegal detention by him or his captivity. After having did a sex with the accused Mathadipathi, she returned home and led not only worldly life with her family members, but led a marital life with her husband without any complaint. She has not stated except the divine 79 S.C.No.1242/ 2015 displeasure showed on her what was the exceptional and extraordinary circumstance to prevent her from lodging the complaint immediately on a first, or second or third occasion like imminent danger to herself and her family members from the hands of men of accused Mathadipathi to accept her say. The man may cheat once, twice or thrice but, not always continuously in the guise of divine displeasure. As told above, she is a woman of God fearing and faithful to her husband. The woman of such character never surrenders to any man even including Mathadipathi, definitely offers resistance and stops pay visiting the accused Math and attending the Rama Katha programmes. In case of any untold incident occurs even after her resistance offers, she could not tolerate for any reason on the guise of divine displeasure would rather die of excessive sexual harassment or revolt against the accused or bring it to the knowledge of her husband immediately to get rid of his clutches. According to her she tolerated this sexual harassment continuously for a year, what it indicates that she must be woman of lusty character or for money. The sex did for money would amounts to ill intimacy. This conduct on the part of the prosecutrix not in conformity with the conduct of the God fearing 80 S.C.No.1242/ 2015 woman or chaste woman and it speaks in volume. More than 169 times surrenders before the accused establishes that for what reason she did so, best known to her i.e., for money. So, the acts of sex did amounts to ill-intimacy. In view of fact that couple of years continuously sexual affairs in between accused Mathadipati and prosecutrix went on repeatedly by going to the accused, the essential ingredients of Sec. 375 completely loses their importance and effect in the eye of law. The sex takes different colour and name, the sexual affairs in the given case on hand between them would take shape and colour of the ill-intimacy. 82. The element of sex differentiates and takes different names relating to circumstances, place, etc. In the given case on hand, having regard to the existence of facts and circumstances of the
18 18 case, the acts of sex did accountable of 169 times, unaccountable and unmemorable at many times and the sex existed for 85 S.C.No.1242/ 2015 over a period of 4 years continuously. The Prosecutrix on sex with accused/mathadipathi by going to him wherever he was and she never complained up and no invitation from the side of accused to have a sex with him on his phone call or calling through his men. It was not within the knowledge of her husband who is her legal guardian and protector. So, the acts of sex she did with accused/mathadipathi tantamount to unacceptable intimacy. Viewing from any angle, the acts of sex did not amounts to rape at all, but, ill intimacy. 89. Acts of sex, over a period of 4 years connotes and denotes no resistance. On the other hand, it presumes with consent and willingness to do sex. The eldest daughter lodges hear-say complaint. The Hon ble Supreme Court of India rules is not admissible at this stage i.e., at the stage of discharge the accused. No bar to lodge such kind of complaint, however, have to be substantiated during the trial only not at this stage. 90. We have seriously noticed that from the statements of Prosecutrix both under Sec. 161 of Cr.P.C. and Sec. 164 of Cr.P.C. statements, the acts of sex did during Rama Katha programmes held and rehearsals held only, not went as a disciple or devotee of Math to hold it as a custodial sex and not attracts clause (2) (F) and (N) of Indian Penal code. So she had sex with accused in Math, the Prosecutrix visited the accused/math as a Rama Katha Singer for rehearsals. On this ground also not amounts to rape at all. What emerges from the observations from the learned single judge in the above paragraphs, among other findings in the order dated , is that though the 1 st Respondent is discharged of the case made out against him in relation to the concerned offences under the Indian Penal Code, the known truth of the long lasting sexual relationship has been reported in a judicial finding. Therefore, there can be no doubt that the known but feared truth of sexual relationship has been confirmed by the learned Sessions Judge. From the perspective of ardent devotees, followers, persons who place implicit trust and faith in the 1 st Respondent, the sexual relationship of the 1 st Respondent with a married woman has now come into public domain. It is a serious black mark on the 2 nd Respondent Math, which is irreversible and irreparable. 17. As mentioned above, the Petitioners respectfully state that the above incidents of sexual relationship, if not sexual exploitation, is not a solitary or a stray incident. The allegation in relation to the sexual relationship is for
19 19 more than 4 years and that too with a married woman, who is elder in age to the 1 st Respondent. A report of sexual exploitation or sexual relationship with another lady who has been exploited sexually ever since she was a minor has also been reported and in that regard also the jurisdictional police have filed a First Information Report in Crime No. 0257/2015. The copy of the FIR in Crime No. 0257/2015 is produced as Annexure - H. The copy of the complaint given by the victim dated is produced as Annexure J. The 1 st Respondent immediately rushed and secured a bail, which inter alia imposed a condition of restricting his travel. This restriction severely impeded in discharge of duties and responsibilities of the 1 st Respondent as Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math. One of his primary duties and functions is to spread knowledge of Vedanta, ignite the minds of followers leading them from darkness (Ajnana) to the universal truth i.e. (Jnana). Not that the 1 st Respondent cared much for the 2 nd Respondent Math or its activities or its well being, nevertheless, the series of serious allegations involving moral turpitude would definitely impede the 1 st Respondent from discharging his duties and functions as a Mathadhipati of a revered Math. The situation had become so worst that the 1 st Respondent has given up his popular campaigns such as Gosamrakshana, Ramakatha, etc. and had to scurry for his personal liberty. He was running from one post to another and from one investigating agency to another and the only thought that remained in his mind was to somehow block all proceedings, which were initiated to ascertain the truth, and that by itself was setting a very wrong example to the members of the community, followers, disciples. The method that was increasingly seen was that with power and money any situation, be it even a due process of law, can be derailed. This message had unfortunately been instilled in the younger generation, who now increasingly feel that what is important in life is not cultural or charitable or religious values, but to be a source of or an ally of a power which could wield political influence, monitory power or the threat of a position such as the position of a Mathadhipati. Many followers and devotees of the Advaita Brahmin Community were ashamed to disclose that they belong to such a community and it is no secret that such a huge calamity has fallen on disciples and devotees of the 2 nd Respondent Math.
20 The Petitioners further submit that it is widely perceived as truth that the 1 st Respondent had brought about pressure on Sri Shamaprasada Shastry, the brother-in-law of Smt. Premalatha to publicly give statements against the truth i.e. against the sexual relationship between Smt. Premalatha and the 1 st Respondent, and if he failed to do so various threats were held out against him. It is under such circumstances, that the brother-in-law of Smt. Premalatha, namely, Sri. Shamaprasad Shastry is reported to have committed suicide by shooting himself. The victim, namely Sri. Shamaprasad Shastry was a respectable person in the community. He was involved in many philanthropic, charitable, social and religious causes and was never a person who would run away from any duties and responsibilities in the usual course. It is further reported that Sri. Shamaprasad Shastry had left behind a death note blaming the 1 st Respondent, his coterie and the henchmen of the 1 st Respondent to be responsible for such a pathetic situation to befall on the deceased and the family. In that regard also, the First Information Report is registered with the jurisdictional police in Crime No.0113/2014 and a copy of which is produced as Annexure-K. The deceased left behind him a death note, which is with the investigating agency. However, the death note has been extracted in Crl. Miscellaneous No.5896/2014, which is a proceeding initiated by the 1 st Respondent to secure an anticipatory bail. The extract of the death note found in the order of the proceedings in Crl. Misc. 5896/2014 is produced as Annexure K1. It is interesting to note that the 1 st Respondent and some of his influential henchmen/coterie were able to ensure that the name of the 1 st Respondent is not shown as accused in the First Investigation Report. However, the cat was out of the bag when the 1 st Respondent himself, though not a person accused in the FIR, rushed to the court and secured an anticipatory bail. This conduct would itself speak volumes and akin to the maxim res ipsa loquitor, things speak for themselves. 19. Another unfortunate trait of the 1 st Respondent is his belief of using violence, be it mental or physical or psychological, to suppress the truth. It has widely been used by the 1 st Respondent with the aid of his henchmen and coterie for various illegal acts. One such occasion is when an attempt was made by the 1 st Respondent through his henchmen and coterie to capture religious institution belonging to a Math called Kuntikana Math situated in Kasargod/Kerala,
21 21 which led to a legal battle and ultimately the competent court has held against the 2 nd Respondent. There are several instances which will be elaborated later. There was nothing left to disgrace the followers, the disciples or the community. The 1 st Respondent has given up the cause of Dharma. He has failed to observe and practice Sanyasashrama dharma. On the contrary, he has indulged in several activities, which are extremely shameful for any human being, much less for a Sanyasin. The last straw was the attempt to forcibly take over the property. Instead of upholding righteousness and dharma, the 1 st Respondent has embarked upon various activities which were all contrary to the Sanatana dharma and he has become a source of Adharma himself. 20. The 1 st Respondent has always been acting against the interests of the 2 nd Respondent Math. It is to be noticed here that the 2 nd Respondent itself is an institution for the propagation and advancement of religious, social, charitable causes. The 1 st Respondent has diverted the benefits that would accrue to the 2 nd Respondent Math. One of the many instances is to establish trust in which the 1 st Respondent would be the sole trustee or hold a position of a controlling the nature. The 1 st Respondent has been instrumental in the establishment of various trusts, which would never be in the best interests of the 2 nd Respondent Math. An instance to highlight the said aspects is the establishment of a trust under the name and style of Dharmachakra Trust in which the 1 st Respondent is the sole trustee. The above trust was a veil to carry out large scale financial irregularities. Not only was legitimate amounts due to the 2 nd Respondent were diverted, but these trusts were also used as a façade to carry out several financial illegalities. The 1 st Respondent was/is diverting a lot of donations, contributions made by the followers and disciples abroad, of which the 2 nd Respondent was to be the sole beneficiary. Noticing these financial irregularities or illegalities, the appropriate authority in the home ministry had issued notices regarding violation of rules regarding funds received from abroad. It is also reported that the licenses of various organizations including the Dharmachakra Trust have been cancelled and these trusts have been black listed. The Petitioners are in the process of securing the actual administrative action of black listing, inter alia, the Dharmachakra Trust; however for ready reference, would place before this Hon ble Court the newspaper report of published in the Deccan Herald as Annexure -
22 22 L. The Trust Deed of Dharmachakra Trust is produced as Annexure - M. The factum of black listing is suppressed in all the official web sites of the 2 nd Respondent and its organisation, thereby making it appear that donation can still be made in relation to the objectives of the Dharmachakta Trust, the e-platform of which is The 1 st Respondent has also opened various trusts in the name of carrying out various religious observances/sevas of Sri Gokarna Mahabaleshwara Devaru. It is claimed that the administration of Sri Mahabaleshwara Devaru at Gokarna (where Lord Shiva has appeared in the form of Athmalinga) was handed over to the 2 nd Respondent Math. In the usual course what is expected was that the affairs of the temple would be administered by the 2 nd Respondent Math. However, the 1 st Respondent has been a party in the creation of several trusts in the name of carrying out various observances / sevas to Sri Mahabaleshwara Devaru and thereby enticing people wrongfully in donating to the Trust. As a resultant action, funds and contributions, which were legitimately due to Sri Mahabaleshwara Devaru or at best the 2 nd Respondent Math were stealthily and successfully diverted to various trusts in which the 1 st Respondent has a controlling part. In such a manner, illegally the 1 st Respondent has been a party to wrongful amassment of wealth and wrongful deprivation of contributions and funds to the 2 nd Respondent Math. The Petitioners submit that these are only some of the instances that are brought to the notice of the court and if a situation were to arise or the Respondent were to deny the above aspects, further proof and instances would be placed before this court. 21. The Sanyasin is a person who has renounced world. A very important ceremony that is undergone before accepting Sanyasashrama is the renunciation of all relationships with the entire society and more particularly from the family members. In fact special Shraddha ceremonies (last rites) are performed to signify that all relationships have come to an end or resulted in death. It is for this reason that a Sanyasin is required to be a selfless person to strive for the betterment of his devotees, disciples, followers, etc. The 1 st Respondent by throwing all the aforesaid principles or tenets to thin air has secured life insurance policy showing his name as Raghaveshwara Bharathi alias Harish Sharma. The very purpose for which the Shraddha ceremonies are performed as mentioned above, is also to give up the identity of the individual
23 23 who is embracing Sanyasashrama. As a necessary consequence, such a person is anointed with a new name which is in the present case is Raghaveshwara Bharathi. When such being the case, securing a LIC Policy/Policies showing the Poorvashrama name would only demonstrate that the 1 st Respondent has no regard for Sanyasashrama or the duties, responsibilities, expectations, trusts, beliefs that the devotees, followers and society at large have placed on the 1 st Respondent when he was appointed as Mathadhipati/Mahant of the 2 nd Respondent Math. There can be no justification for the 1 st Respondent to secure such a LIC Policy. The Petitioners are in the process of securing a copy of the LIC Policy, but are in a position to readily place before this court a receipt for having remitted the premium for the policy and the same is produced as Annexure-N. 22. The Petitioners submit that the 1 st Respondent has been misusing his position as the Mathadhipati/Mahant of the 2 nd Respondent as well as the financial resources/funds of the 2 nd Respondent. the 1 st Respondent has been able to sabotage the administration of justice. The 1 st Respondent after securing a discharge in Crime No.164/2014 (Premalatha s case) was able to get a case relating to the bail in the Crime No.257/2014 transferred to the same court and the same Presiding Officer. Thereafter, very shockingly, the application for relaxation of the bail conditions is not opposed by the prosecuting agency. When the application is taken up for consideration, the Public Prosecutor is conspicuously absent and the same is categorically mentioned in the order dated in Crl. Misc.2114/2016, a copy of which is produced as Annexure O. In such a manner the 1 st Respondent has been able to manipulate the delivery of justice. Another interesting aspect is that though grave charges are made in Crime No.257/2015 and allegation are regarding sexual assault of a minor girl by the 1 st Respondent, investigation has been influenced to be brought to a complete halt. 23. The intention of the 1 st Respondent in being a Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent Math has only been to misuse his position and the reverence given to him by the followers and the society at large. This unfortunate misuse of the position of the 1 st Respondent as the Mathadhipati of the 2 nd Respondent as a