Kerala

Orthodox Church serves ultimatum

It wants State govt. to implement SC orders within seven days

Frustrated by an ‘abdication of intent’ by the State government in implementing the Supreme Court orders in the Malankara Church case, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on Wednesday served an ultimatum to the government asking it to implement the orders within a period of seven days.

In a letter dispatched to the Chief Secretary, Biju Oommen, church secretary, said that ‘appropriate action in accordance with law, including Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, shall be initiated,’ if the orders delivered by the apex court are not implemented within the stipulated time period.

Accusing the State government of committing `wilful disobedience' of the judgment and orders of the apex court, it noted that the government allowed parallel administration and religious services by unlawful priests, and gave police protection to the dissident Patriarch group to occupy the parish churches. Further, burials were conducted under police protection, while no investigation was being done into FIRs lodged by lawful vicars.

The Supreme Court, through several decisions from 1958 to 2018, has already settled that the Malankara Church is to be administered under its 1934 constitution. With yet another order on 26.02.2019, it further directed the authorities to act in terms of its earlier judgment on the issue.

The Chief Secretary, however, was yet to issue any order to implement the same, despite bringing to notice the obstructions and disobedience made by the Patriarch group. “At the same time, conferences and meetings of your officials, including police heads, were convened and held by you to discuss and instruct, it is understood, how not to enforce the orders of the Supreme Court in the Malankara Church cases,” the letter said.

According to it, the Cabinet subcommitee constituted by the State government for settling the disputes was in breach of the court direction that “the State and all parties shall abide by the judgment in totality and cannot solve the matter in any manner different than the judgment passed by this court.’’

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:50:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/orthodox-church-serves-ultimatum/article28860591.ece

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