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Hearing case on row between church factions, SC asks: Is Kerala above the law?

The issue relates to the more than a century-old row between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church over administration of various churches in its fold and its properties.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 3, 2019 3:24:10 am
Kerala, Orthodox church, Jacobite factions, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Orthodox Jacobite church row, supreme court, Indian express A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Mishra had, in July 2017, delivered a judgment upholding the rights of the Orthodox faction.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday lashed out at the Kerala Chief Secretary over a dispute between two church factions and asked whether the state was “above the law”.

“Enough is enough…. Is Kerala above the law? We can’t tolerate this any more. Tell your client that he is already in contempt…. We will call your Chief Secretary and send him to jail directly from here,” Justice Arun Mishra, heading a bench with Justice M R Shah, told senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, representing the state.

The issue relates to the more than a century-old row between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church over administration of various churches in its fold and its properties.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Mishra had, in July 2017, delivered a judgment upholding the rights of the Orthodox faction.

Following the verdict, the Orthodox faction approached the Kerala High Court seeking police protection to enter and conduct worship rituals in a few churches. The HC disposed of the plea with a direction to provide security if the circumstances demanded it.

The Orthodox faction approached the apex court against the HC order.

The Orthodox church has alleged that the state has failed to provide security to conduct worship in the churches, which angered the apex court.

Hearing the plea on Tuesday, the bench led by Justice Mishra said, “There are two judgments — one by (a) three-judge bench and (the) second we pronounced. It is crystal clear. You are trying to prolong the implementation of that. After the judgment, 10 writ petitions came to this court.”

In its order, the bench directed that its order should be implemented.

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