The Trust that bought the Monk’s Ferrari……

Mumbai Mirror bears a story telling of a new notification issued by the Women and Child Development Department issued a notification that cases of Bal Diksha (the initiation of children as monks in Jainism) cannot be tried under the Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. This means that now minors can be freely forced into the Jain priesthood, and child rights  organizations can do nothing to stop them.  The Jain Trusts are of course overjoyed. They claim that it is their religious right to ordain children as monks, and are celebrating this supposed vindication of this right.  Here:

Here: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=15&contentid=2009060520090605030242633257a0f90

and here: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=2&contentid=20090509200905090256163922a2e6f2c

Thoughts?

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “The Trust that bought the Monk’s Ferrari……

  1. Very sad. Very regressive. Hundreds of lives would be lost to fanaticism. What a waste! These are just the feelings. What ‘thought’ could one apply in light of such judgement!

    TC.

  2. TCC,

    I’d totally overlooked the blog’s title. Nice one, but thought “the trust that SNATCHED AWAY monk’s Ferrari” would’ve been more apt. No, I don’t want it to sound sensational, but the act of buying is usually a part of transaction that’s mutually consensual.

    TC.

  3. Is there any other trust that’s planning to term child labor as legal, too? Just a loud suggestion to those a bit of on the intellectually disadvantageds side.

    • Ketan,
      Yeah, on second thoughts that might be a more fitting title!

      There is still hope: the notification may be challenged in the high court. The fuck up is, these people claim that the children actually wish to renounce worldly things and enter the preisthood, and that this is an independent, informed decision! Besides it doesn’t make sense. Minors are not competent to contract, meaning that they are not considered mature enough to bind themselves to any obligation. So why is it that a decision dedicating their life to a preisthood requires less maturity than, say, agreeing to work as a child actor in a film or a serial (which contracts, by the way are invalid)?

      I think I can answer my own question: this is religion, where all is fair. The Jain side are claiming that this is their religious right! Even if it is, the child does not have the right to enter the preisthood anymore than it has to enter into a binding contract. I am waiting to see how this will turn out.

      • Well,

        Since you’re a law student, I look up to you to clarify one thing–‘secularism’ as defined in our constitution implies regarding all religions equally when framing policies or disregarding them equally? If it’s the former, then so many malpractices, like ‘sati’, dowry deaths, untouchability, not getting children immunized (children cry on being injected 😉 so children of course consent to NOT get vaccinated), child marriage, not restricting family size–all will have receive legal sanction. If it’s the latter, then the policies and laws could be framed keeping in with the spirit of human rights. I feel, initiation so early in life would also go against the constitutional guarantee of free and compulsory education till the age of 14–provided the government/judiciary doesn’t recognize religious indoctrination as ‘education’. TC.

      • I know, there’s no such thing as ‘independent’ decision till one turns 18, irrespective of however much ‘informed’ (read, brainwashed) one would be. Let’s hope better sense prevails.

      • You write well, so thought you’d appreciate my pointing out that you spelt ‘priesthood’ wrong twice. TC.

  4. Well, I just read the articles you’d linked above, and it utterly shocks me to think how a certain community could get this suicidal?

    I mean how could religious scriptures written centuries back be used as guides to how to lead our lives in this century? What do scriptures of any of the religions say about tax evasion?

    This totally pains shocks the apathetic me. 😦

    The problem, I fear, could be finding funds for fighting the cases by the voluntary organizations. The Jain community, money-wise, is likely to go ballistic in seeing this ‘crisis’ through.

    But what to do we’re living in a ‘free and fair’ world. 😦

    • In India, secularism means merely that the state will be neutral in matters of religion- in that it will not favour one religion over another. It has been stressed in case law and commentary of jurists that the state itself is NOT an atheistic entity (as is the case in China or the erstwhile USSR).

      So religion, in theory, is seen as an ideal to promote. As to your question- judicial opinion is conflicting: but mostly, religion is put on a higher pedestal than other fundamental rights. I doubt there is a general rule as to as to which religious practices are allowed under the cloak of freedom of religion and which ones are disallowed- this is dealt with on a case by case basis.

      Here is a beautifully worded judgment by Dharmadhikari J. The facts relate to saffronizaton of education, but the concept of religious education is brilliantly explored.

      http://www.ncert.nic.in/html/pdf/schoolcurriculum/ncfsc/judge51_80.pdf

      • Thanks a lot, TCC, but since I use cell phone to browse, won’t be able to open the pdf file.

        What you reveal about constitutional fundamental rights being superseded by religious rights, even if so in isolated cases, is truly scary.

        Respect for fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution was my my last hope for so many evils plaguing our society. This is truly scary. 😦

  5. “The Jain community, money-wise, is likely to go ballistic in seeing this ‘crisis’ through.”

    That is exactly what I am afraid of. Plus, if enough money is raised then it may serve for more than just the fees of a lawyer…I’ll stop here before I’m hauled in for contempt.

  6. Now, I’ve been a very practical person, and never nursed a delusion of all the three pillars of our constitution being free of possibility to get influenced subliminally. However, I’d heard and felt that at least in matters of well publicized litigations, fairness and justice would remain the prime driving forces in spelling out judgements not in the least because of public scrutiny. But, now I’m all the more sacred considering you’re almost an insider.

    Your revelation about what could constitue ‘contempt’ reminds me of a real incident in one of the higher courts of our continent that I’d heard of:

    A judge had asked the lawyer, “you thinks I’m a fool?”. And the response was, “if I respond in affirmative, I’d be tried for contempt of court, and if in negative, then I could be tried for perjury”! And well, the lawyer and the judge had known each other not just on the professional front, so no harm had come to the lawyer.

    But, I digressed (and do let me know if it’s not alright).

    TC.

    • Thanks for pointing out the error, I do make a lot of typoes and always miss them when I proofread.

      The anecdote you speak of has been doing the rounds for years now, but I haven’t been able to trace its source.

      I don’t know about your point concerning public scrutiny beacuse:

      a) It has failed before. Injustice has been meted out despite fierce public scrutiny.

      b)I don’t know that this particular case has much public scrutiny in the first place; athough admittedly, the circular hasn’t been challenged yet.

      c) Public pressure is effective when there is unanimous support for one side of a particular case. In this case, it is very possible that a large number of people will sincerely believe that upholding the so called religious right is the just and fair way to go. So it may work out negatively.

      We’ll just have to wait and watch, what say?

      • When I’d heard that anecdote, it was in a lawyer’s chamber with the lawyer’s and and the judge’s name, but which I don’t take as a guarantee of its veracity. Anyway, the anecdote sounded quite ‘generic’ so as to say 😉

        My assumption of public scrutiny tending to ensure fairness was based on half-baked knowledge and full-fledged irrational optimism. And I’d an idea of the possibility of things being otherwise, so am not like completely shocked. I can live with this new knowledge 🙂 You’re from within the ‘system’, so you might not easily realize how unrealistic expectations people have of so many revered institutions that they would go into denial on any remote suggestion similar to yours.

        And yes, there’s not much we can do apart from waiting and watching.

        You can ignore this question totally if you wish, but what other graduation degree are you going to get apart from LLB?

        TC.

  7. I’m not from within the system, really, sorry. 😉 The ‘system’ is a labyrinth full of trapdoors, pitfalls and knee-high shit. I haven’t even begun to smell it. But I do have an idea of how the courts function (while claiming to be pure, sacrosanct and above the reach of Right to Information). Why should the judiciary be immnue to the cancers that plague our other (just as revered, of course) democratic institutions?

    If this circular becomes the subject of litigation as it must for sanity’s sake, the approach of the courts will be interesting. In a 2007 case, an Udaipur court dismissed a petition filed on similar facts saying that bal diksha is in fact a part of the Jain religion and as such must be upheld. With respect, the sooner this is overturned, the better, not least for the tonsured children forced into the priesthood in the name of ‘rights’.

    Me, I’m doing Mumbai University’s five year law course, so my degree on completion will be B.L.S, L.L.B. I’ll get B.L.S (bachelor of legal sciences) this August (having completed my 3rd year), so technically I’ll be a graduate then; but a B.L.S of its own right is just a formality and really accounts for fuck all.

  8. Thanks TCC.

    So, what are you taught as a part of Bachelor of Legal Sciences course, I mean what subjects?

    Well, knee-high shit is a part of my profession, too. And I just hate the prospect of becoming part of that system some day. Some think of me as too cynical to say this, but I don’t believe there’s anything really like one or even few persons realistically and successfully fighting against the system. There are too many incentives for those higher up, and even somewhat down the food-chain (that’s the term I use for ‘corruption’) to allow someone threatening their comfortable perch. What are well publicized cases are just eyewash and blown out of proportion by the media to grab eyeballs–well, according to me. If I’ll have to go against the system, that’d be with conscious decision of sacrificing so many ‘worldly’ pleasures, which I consider basic necessities.

    Wish you all the best, and as for the professional shit, bon appetit! 😉

    TC.

  9. although i am a jain but i completely abhor this practice. young children who have seen nothing of the life they are made to renounce the worldly goods.
    i have heard most of the monks or sadhus or munis are the ones who become so because of economic conditions, unemployment, unhappiness in the family , they are the ones who want to run away from the pressures of life.
    for me this is the most cowardly act

    Thanks for your comment, anjugandhi. What you mention may be a cowardly act, but it isn’t as repulsive as forcing a child into the shitheap. To my mind it is as abhorrent as child abuse. In fact it is abuse, though not of a sexual nature.

    Welcome to my blog, by the way, and hope to hear more from you.

    The Couch Clown

  10. Hey you sure you are just 20? Coz you sound much more aware than the average 20 year old I have met in Mumbai…the hang out at Bandstand variety (Ok, I know I am generalising:-) you got a nice blog going and like your comments on IHM’s blog

    Hi, Cilla, welcome to my blog. I’m glad you like it. Last time I checked (two minutes ago) I was 20 years, 8 months and seventeen days old. You dare suggest I hang out at bandstand? I’ll have you know, madam that I hang out at Carter Road where there is a Shawarma-wala, hookah place, a Gelato and a gola guy within two minutes of each other. Bandstand sucks. And Mumbaikars are smart in general- after all, we invented sev puri, cutting chai, vada pav and bollywood.

    Keep coming back,

    The Couch Clown

  11. Shocking and sad 😦 How can they justify this??? Let me read the links you have provivded… but I am horrified.

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