Special Correspondent

Emmanuel Mission International promoters granted bail

JAIPUR: In two separate orders, the Rajasthan High Court has restored the registrations of five societies run by the Kota-based controversial Christian group, Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) and granted bail to its promoters, the father-son duo, M.A. Thomas and Samuel Thomas.

The court orders, first by a double bench and the other by a single bench, have provided a breather to the beleaguered group which runs about four dozen educational institutions, besides hospitals and orphanages in Rajasthan.

The double bench, comprising Justice Ms. Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Mr.Vineet Kothari, in their order on Tuesday restored the registration of Emmanuel School Society, Emmanuel Believers Church Society, Emmanuel Orphanage Society, Emmanuel Bible School Society and Emmanuel Hospital Society.

The registrations of these societies were cancelled earlier this year by the Registrar of Societies, Rajasthan on the recommendations of the State Social Welfare Department, which had alleged irregularities in the functioning of the institutions run by them. A single bench of the High Court had earlier upheld the action of the Registrar in cancelling the registration.

In the second order, which was delivered by Justice Mr.J.R.Goyal on Monday, the court granted anticipatory bail to Dr.Thomas, the founder of Emmanuel Mission International and Samuel Thomas, his son. They were given anticipatory bail in a case registered against them in the Udyog Nagar police station in Kota on February 24, under Sections 344, 374, 153 A of the Indian Penal Code and also under Section 3 of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950. Their anticipatory bail plea was earlier rejected by the District Court, Kota.

The Section 153 A IPC pertains charge of hate speech provoking enmity between two groups while Sections 344 and 374 IPC are for wrongful confinement and unlawful compulsory labour, respectively.

The case under the Emblems and Names Act is for the alleged depiction of the map of India without showing Kashmir as part of the country on a website.

The State Government's crackdown on the EMI institutions and their promoters had followed the dispute over the sale of a controversial book, "Haqeeqat"(Reality) in February this year.

With the latest High Court orders, the EMI duo has procured bails in all the cases registered against them in connection with the alleged sale of the book and those filed by the Social Welfare Department.

In the wake of the charges against them, the Rajasthan police had arrested Samuel Thomas from Noida in Delhi once though the octogenarian Dr.Thomas could get anticipatory bails in all the cases against him.

All the staff members of the EMI arrested in Kota in connection with the controversial book--which stands banned in Rajasthan -- are now out on bail. However, the future of the schools and institutions run by EMI still hangs in balance as the Government has appointed receivers in four schools run by it in Kota and is said to be proceeding to do the same with others in the near future. The orphanage, run by the EMI, is now under the Social Welfare Department and the number of its inmates has dwindled from over 2500 to about 400 now.