Kerala Church scandal: Supreme Court asks state police not to arrest priests till July 19https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-church-scandal-sc-asks-state-police-not-to-arrest-priests-till-july-19-5263645/

Kerala Church scandal: Supreme Court asks state police not to arrest priests till July 19

Kerala government, which had filed caveat in the matter, informed the bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that two of the accused have surrendered, while two are before the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

Kerala Sex Scandal. (Illustration by Vishnu PP)
Four priests attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church have been named in a case of sexual abuse of 34-year-old married woman. (Illustration by Vishnu PP)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Kerala police not to arrest the two clergymen of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church who have been accused in a sex scandal, till their anticipatory bail plea is taken up for hearing on July 19. The Kerala government, which had filed a caveat in the matter, informed the bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that two of the accused have surrendered, while two are seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

Representing the Kerala government in the case, Senior advocate V Giri had said that it is a serious matter and the state government was opposing the plea for their anticipatory bail.

Seeking to separate the case of Father Sony Verghese from the others, senior advocate R Basant said there is a specific allegation of rape and his case cannot be clubbed with other accused in the case. The bench responded by saying that the issue requires proper consideration and will take it up for hearing on July 19.

Basant further appealed for interim protection for the accused from arrest till the matter is taken up for hearing. Following which, the bench said the Kerala police should not arrest the accused till July 19.

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Two of the accused, Father Sony Verghese and Father Jaise K George, had Monday moved the apex court seeking anticipatory bail in the case after their pleas were rejected by the Kerala High Court on July 11, which further asked the two to surrender to the police forthwith.

Four priests attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church have been named in a case of sexual abuse of a 34-year-old married woman by using her confessional statement. The case was registered with the crime branch on July 2 against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of statements given by a woman belonging to the same church. The victim alleged having been sexually assaulted on many occasions.