13 Jan 2023 4:15 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of 2 missing sisters who are allegedly under unlawful confinement of Rape Accused and self-styled Godman, Nithyananda. The bench of Justice N. V. Anjaria and Justice Niral R. Mehta passed this order while hearing a Habeas Corpus plea filed by the father of 2 sisters seeking their...
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of 2 missing sisters who are allegedly under unlawful confinement of Rape Accused and self-styled Godman, Nithyananda.
The bench of Justice N. V. Anjaria and Justice Niral R. Mehta passed this order while hearing a Habeas Corpus plea filed by the father of 2 sisters seeking their custody alleging that the girls were forcibly taken away and enticed by Nithyananda for purposes other than lawful.
It may be noted that the Petition was filed way back in the year 2019 and despite the court’s many orders, the girls [namely Lopamudra (21) and Nandhitha (18)] could not be recovered o date.
Taking note of the same, the Court, in its order, observed that in this case, none of the respondents, including the MHA, filed their responses, even when it was incumbent on the part of the authorities to file their affidavit in reply and to put forth their stand forthright indicating the efforts they had put in to trace the girls.
In view of this, the Court made the following observation:
“The authorities are prima face seen to be falling short in performance of their duties towards investigation and to secure personal liberty of the corpuses and to address the concern of the worrying father-the petitioner.”
At this moment, the Public Prosecutor submitted that he would submit all the investigation reports compiled before the Court and shall also ensure the filing of an affidavit by the competent officer showing the efforts taken out in the investigation.
In view of this, the Court further directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to also file an affidavit, as it noted that the girls are stated to be out of the country and are allegedly under unlawful confinement of some persons claiming to be exercising religious authority over them
Further, the court sought to know from the Senior Advocate BB Naik, representing the girls (corpuses), as to whether they could be contacted through virtual mode to enable the Court to know about their status and to ascertain their wishes.
To this, he said that he was not in contact with corpuses since April 2022, however, he shall see to it that the contact is maintained and a proper response is given to the Court.
However, he further submitted that he has a preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the present petition as the Gujarat High Court does not have territorial jurisdiction to deal with the petition.
In response to this, the Court said that while it would consider the said preliminary objection on the next date of hearing, simultaneously, it wants the authorities to file their respective affidavits even if the preliminary issue raised is to be considered a priori.
With this, the matter was adjourned to February 6, 2023.
Case title - JANARDHANA RAMKRISHNA SHARMA Versus STATE OF GUJARAT
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