Kerala

Implement directive in Kothamangalam case: HC

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday orally observed that the High Court had not directed the State government to amicably settle the dispute over the Kothamangalam church and it had only directed the Ernakulam Collector to take over the church and hand it over to the vicar of the Orthodox faction.

The court made the oral observation when State Attorney K.A.Sohan sought three months time to amicably settle the dispute relating to the Kothamangalam church between the Orthodox and Jacobite faction vicars

When a contempt petition filed against the Ernakulam Collector for not complying with the court’s directive came up for hearing, Justice P.B.Suresh Kumar orally observed that the affidavit filed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, was vague and did not make any commitment to implementation of the High Court directive.

It only sought to adjourn the contempt proceedings to enable the government to find an amicable solution to the issue. In fact, the court had not directed the Collector to find an amicable solution to the disputes. The court reminded the State Attorney that the Ernakulam Collector had earlier appeared before the court and made a commitment to implement the High Court directive. Besides, it had been a year since it had issued the directive. The affidavit of the Additional Chief Secretary did not say what sort of understanding reached between the two factions at the three meetings convened by the Chief Minister.

The State Attorney further submitted that the government would try to settle the dispute amicably within three months. If the disputes could not be settled, it would seek either a legal solution or muster sufficient force and peacefully implement the directive of the High Court.

He told the court that the government wanted to find a practical solution to the issue. It could not ask the police to fire at a large number of persons who were opposing the implementation of the High Court directive. The life of such people had to be safeguarded.

The affidavit filed by the Additional Chief Secretary said that if the High Court passed any order during the pendency of the amicable settlement being attempted at the instance of the Chief Minister, it would disrupt the successful attempts for finding a peaceful solution to a long-standing dispute.

The court reserved its order on the maintainability of two petitions filed by some Jacobite parishioners seeking to implead in the contempt case.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:39:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/implement-directive-in-kothamangalam-case-hc/article33177625.ece

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