Bishop Franco Mulakkal and Kerala nun rape case: the story till now

HC rejects plea to arrest Jalandhar Bishop

The Kerala High Court on Monday turned down a plea for a directive to arrest Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, in a nun rape case.

Justice B. Sudheendra Kumar, however, asked the police to take a decision on the arrest at the earliest.

The court directed the church authorities not to circulate any leaflet or pamphlet touching on the moral character of the survivor. If any such thing was circulated, police should take immediate steps in accordance with the law. The petitioner alleged that the church authorities had circulated a leaflet against the nun among the faithful. Dismissing the plea by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCRM), Pala, the judge said the court had no role to play in the arrest of an accused. The court said the investigation so far conducted could not be faulted. Nor could it be said the investigation team was lackadaisical.

The steps taken by the investigation officer showed that the team had adopted a proactive role in investigation. Merely because the accused was yet to be arrested was not a ground to contend that the investigation was not on the right track.

The court also agreed with an argument of the Additional Deputy Director of Prosecution that the investigation officer had to collect materials to prima face support the allegation against the Bishop before arresting him. Besides, the investigation team was now conducting the probe at Jalandhar in Punjab.

The court, therefore, observed that there was no need for a court-monitored, time-bound investigation as pleaded by the petitioner. The petitioner had alleged that despite registering an FIR on June 28 and recording the statement of the nun under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Bishop was yet to be arrested or interrogated.

Meanwhile, in a statement filed in response to a petition by K. George Joseph of the KCRM, Kottayam Deputy Superintendent of Police K. Subhash, the investigating officer, said the probe so far had revealed that Franco Mulakkal had raped the nun on several occasions at the guest room of the St. Francis Mission Home at Kuruvilangad.

The officer said medical examination also revealed that she was subjected to rape. A Jalandhar report quoted Mr. Subhash as saying that seven people were questioned in the case. “More people will be questioned. We will also go to Amritsar for investigation while Franco Mulakkal will not be questioned on Monday,” he said.

(With ANI inputs)

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 5:33:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-rejects-plea-to-arrest-jalandhar-bishop/article24682199.ece

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