'Being playful': Delhi HC junks plea against Dalai Lama over kissing video row

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Dalai lama Kisses boy

Dalai Lama kissing a boy (File image)

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation over the alleged molestation of a boy by the Dalai Lama, as claimed to have been shown in a video clip that went viral last year, saying the religious leader was “being playful” and has already apologised for the incident.

In the clip, the Dalai Lama was seen kissing the boy on the lips and asking him to “suck his tongue”, which sparked a row on social media.

The petitioner, 'Confederation of NGOs', urged the court to pass directions to the authorities to take cognisance of the alleged incident under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and also ensure that the identity of the child is retracted from news portals.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said the PIL can’t be entertained and the incident was “not premeditated”.

“The court has seen the video and finds that it happened in full public glare. The court finds it was the minor who expressed his desire and intent to meet and hug Respondent no. 4 (the Dalai Lama),” the court said.

“ If the video is seen in overall perspective, it can be seen that respondent no. 4 was being playful and trying to humour the child. It is to be seen in the context of the Tibetan culture. The fact that he is the head of a religious sect which is not on the best terms with a foreign power is also to be borne in mind while dealing with such petitions.

"The court finds that the respondent no. 4 has already expressed an apology to those who may have been hurt,” the bench, also comprising Justice Tushar Rao Gedela, said.

If someone is aggrieved, they can take appropriate legal action, said the court.

The petitioner's counsel submitted that while she was not trying to "bring the Holiness under the scanner", the authorities should have issued a statement after taking note of the incident.

Stating that parents, who are “mesmerized” by religious leaders, often take their children along, the petitioner prayed for a direction to “audit” all religious places, ashrams, retreats etc.

It was also argued that if action is not taken, kissing minors on the lips would be normalised.

The court remarked that the government will examine the issue and there was "nothing of public interest" in the matter.

“There are gurus who kick people. We have seen that also. We can't get into all this. Next someone will say they got a bad handshake.. Give it a quietus. This is not a case to carry on like this,” the court said.

“The present matter should not be entertained as public interest and the same is dismissed,” it ordered.