Judge recuses himself fromhearing case against priest

KCRM petition seeking a directive to arrest Bishop of Jalandhar

Updated - June 08, 2020 04:43 pm IST

Published - August 03, 2018 07:38 pm IST - KOCHI

Justice Sunil Thomas of the Kerala High Court on Friday recused himself from hearing a petition filed by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCRM), Pala, seeking a directive to arrest Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, in a case charging him with sexually abusing a nun.

The court passed the order when the petition filed by K. George Joseph, executive committee member of KCRM, came up for hearing.

The petitioner pointed out 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.

As a result, the survivor had been facing threat to her life even as the perpetrator continued to enjoy his power. The slow progress in the investigation amounted to violation of the right of the sexual abuse survivor to life.

The petitioner sought a speedy investigation besides the protection of witnesses. In fact, no action had been taken against the priest who was the senior most functionary of the Catholic Church. There had been serious efforts to undermine the investigation by threats, inducements and coercion on various witnesses, the petitoner alleged.

The petitioner pointed out that the recent incidents of sexual violence within the Church had shocked the conscience of the believers. The nun who had revealed the entire incident was now living a life of imprisonment even as the offender was allowed to discharge his duties.

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