Delhi HC Rejects PIL Against Dalai Lama Over Child Kiss Controversy

Dalai Lama issued a public apology on April 10, 2023, following the outrage and criticism triggered by a video clip featuring him and a child.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action against Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, under the POCSO Act concerning the issue of kissing a child on the lips. The plea stated that a startling video went viral across media channels and various social media platforms in April 2023, revealing the identity of a child. Discussions and debates organized by many news channels had a grave impact on the well-being of the child.

“This unfathomable sin transpired inside a temple. The poor little child simply asked if he could hug Dalai Lama,” the plea said.

The bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Tushar Rao Gedela noted that the incident took place one and a half years ago in full public glare, and Dalai Lama has apologized for it. The plea, moved by a confederation of NGOs and Jeroninio Almeida, aimed to draw attention to the silence of concerned authorities and media on crimes against children by revered spiritual leaders and sought appropriate action and guidelines for the protection and safety of children during spiritual or religious gatherings.

“The manner in which the perpetrator hugged the child, kissed his lips, and embraced him repeatedly before asking him to suck his tongue is improper, inadequate, inappropriate, uncalled for, and classified as an offense under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act),” the plea read.

The plea further noted that after the incident became public, members of the Tibetan community worldwide attempted to divert the controversy by justifying that ‘sticking one’s tongue out’ is a form of greeting in ancient Tibetan culture. It also criticized the indifference of society towards protecting children despite existing legislation.

“It is a sad reflection on society’s indifferent attitude towards the violation of human dignity, especially when the victims are children,” the plea stated.

Dalai Lama issued a public apology on April 10, 2023, following the outrage and criticism triggered by a video clip featuring him and a child, acknowledging his behavior as “inappropriate.”

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