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SC 'shocked' at alleged involvement of priests in sex crimes in Kerala

‘It is disturbing to see priests involved in sex crimes’  

The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed shock at the alleged involvement of priests in sex crimes in Kerala.

A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan voiced the court’s alarm while hearing the Kottiyoor case in which a Catholic priest is accused of raping a minor.

“This is a shocking and disturbing trend... to see such cases involving priests,” Justice Sikri orally observed. The same Bench is also hearing the anticipatory bail plea of the Catholic priests accused of raping a married woman.

Three discharged

The Bench, however, discharged two doctors and a hospital administrator accused of covering up the rape in the Kottiyoor case. The victim had given birth at their hospital and was under their care. Gynaecologist Sister Tessy Jose, paediatrician Hyder Ali and Sister Ancy Mathew of Christraj Hospital, represented by senior advocate Basant R. and advocates Raghenth Basant and Mithun Verghis, won full relief and will not have to face trial.

The trio had moved the apex court against a Kerala High Court order to stand trial under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 for not reporting the case to the police.

The Bench found no basis for the case against them, especially when the victim’s mother had recorded the child’s age as 18 in the hospital records.

The State of Kerala had opposed the trio’s plea to quash the case against them. The State, represented by senior advocate K.N. Balagopal, argued that the accused were influential people. The prosecution pointed to how the victim’s biological father was framed. In fact, the allegation was that the biological father was asked to take responsibility for the crime. He later confessed to the police about the alleged involvement of the priest and prime accused, Father Robin Vadakumcherry, in the rape of the 16-year-old girl.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 8:16:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rape-cases-against-priests-shocking-sc/article24577932.ece

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