Fake godmen belittling genuine spiritual souls, says Madras High Court

Court denies bail to Siva Shankar Baba in cases booked under POCSO Act

August 18, 2021 01:07 am | Updated 01:08 am IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court on Tuesday lamented that the image of genuine spiritual souls is being tarnished and belittled by fake godmen who use political and money power as catalyst to crystalise their evil intentions such as subjecting women and children to sexual harassment. The court also said that despite all evil acts, the “unscrupulous self-styled godmen” manage to maintain their social status due to gullible devotees.

Justice M. Dhandapani made the observations while dismissing two bail petitions preferred by C.N. Siva Shankaran alias Siva Shankar Baba, 73, of Chennai who was facing three cases booked against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012 and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code following complaints lodged by former students of a residential school on the outskirts of the city.

Not finding any reason to grant bail to the petitioner since the police had made out a prima facie case against him, the judge said the petitioner would not be entitled to bail also because he was influential and capable of influencing the victims and other witnesses if he was enlarged on bail. The judge said the allegations levelled against the petitioner could not be brushed aside just because of the delay in lodging the complaints.

“In the present case, the allegation is that the petitioner has been involved in perverted acts against his devotees, who are none else than his students in the spiritual arena. However, the petitioner, both as a godman and a teacher has indulged in these wicked acts, not only against his devotees, but equally among his students who study under him in the schools run by him,” the judge observed.

He went on to add: “This case is one such example of how the alleged perverted acts of the petitioner, who is a self-styled godman, have created a havoc in the society… The act of such persons, both godman and teachers, has boomeranged to such an extent that the once noted noble profession of teachers and the divine position of godman are belittled by unscrupulous persons.”

Further, expressing his anguish, Justice Dhandapani observed: “Of late, our society has been a hapless witness to the mushrooming of self-styled godmen and gurus who hold out promises of deliverance or salvation to the people who look upon them for answers for all their inner struggles, who are being driven to the point of despair and despondency.”

He said: “The society that is all pervasively influenced by myriad religious people, become invariably susceptible to machinations at the hands of the phoney gurus. The society’s collective gullibility in matters of faith come in handy for the fake godmen and the so- called spiritual gurus for exploitation to the hilt. The reverential faith reposed in such spurious gurus by their multitude of minions stand betrayed at the eventual exposure of their wickedness hid behind the mask of spirituality.”

The judge also wrote: “Unfortunately, in the meanwhile, many people of all age groups become victims of their own blind faith. The society needs to guard itself against the attempts by such gurus in exploiting the people’s emotional dependence on external agencies/forces.” Ultimately, perfidious spiritual gurus, invariably end up exponentially successful in aggrandizement of their wealth, power and influence, which has a cascading detrimental effect on the common man, the judge said.

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