Narendra Modi government withdraws plea on farmers' tractor rally as SC says won’t intervene

By PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to entertain a plea seeking action against illegal ashrams run by fake ‘babas’ across the country, saying the issue does not fall under its realm.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde asked senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, appearing for a petitioner, as to how the court would ascertain that a person is a fake ‘baba’ (godman).

“Menaka Guruswamy, senior counsel appearing for petitioner (Dumpala Ramreddy) seeks permission to withdraw this petition.

Permission, as sought for, is granted.

Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, in its order.

During brief hearing, the lawyer said ‘Akhil Bharatiya Akahara Parishad’ has prepared a list of ‘fake baba.

“How can we rely on that list. We do not know if the list was prepared after hearing them,” the bench said Guruswamy then said that the list of Akhara contained names like convict Ram Rahim Singh.

This provided all the more reason for people not to go to them, the bench said and asked, “Why do you want the Supreme Court to say that”.

“We do not have disrespect for anybody or Akhara Parishad. But we do not know what Akhara Parishad thinks of them. We do not know how the list was prepared. How can the Supreme Court enter into this realm. The court cannot look into it,” the bench said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta the told the bench that the petitioner has already filed a habeas corpus petition in the Delhi High Court seeking custody of his daughter who has allegedly been kept in illegal confinement by an alleged godman.

Earlier in last July, the top court had asked the Solicitor General to look into a plea seeking action against illegal ashrams run by bogus ‘Babas’ across the country and rescuing women from jail-like conditions in ‘Adhyatimik Vidyalaya’ at Rohini here.

“Look into this, what can be done. This gives a bad name to everyone,” the top court had told Mehta.

Dumpala Ramreddy had claimed in his petition that his daughter, a post-doctoral scholar from Iowa State University, USA, has been living in a jail-like condition from July 2015 in ‘Adhyatmika Vidyalaya’, founded allegedly by a rape accused.

He had said the founder of the ashram has been declared as absconding for about three years and a Joint Committee formed by the Delhi High Court had submitted a report giving details of the pathetic conditions prevailing in the ashram run by Veerendar Dev Dixit.

The plea said the apex body of sages — ‘Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad’ — has declared a list of 17 fake ‘babas’ in the country which include the name of Veerendar Dev Dixit.

Ramreddy, appearing in person, sought rescuing of his daughter along with about 170 women inmates from Adhyatmika Vidyalaya as it was done in the case of inmates of jails across the country.

“Take stringent action on 17 illegal Ashrams in India run by “bogus Babas”,” his plea said, adding, that hundreds/thousands of disciples are residing in 17 fake ashrams in the country and national capital and his daughter is one among such persons trapped by these fake ‘babas’.

“That due to inaction of the Respondents and government authorities, fake ‘Babas’ are running the ashrams and trapping the innocent people particularly women.”

“Thousands of women have been forced to stay in the ashrams and they were given drugs and narcotics so that they will not leave the place,” he alleged in his plea.