March 17, 2018 3:50:17 am
A division bench of Kerala High Court on Friday stayed the single bench order directing the police to lodge a criminal case against Cardinal George Alencherry and three others over alleged losses incurred in sale of land owned by the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. Acting on a petition filed by the Cardinal, the division bench of Chief Justice Antony Dominic posted the matter for further hearing on April 3.
On March 6, a single bench of Justice B Kemal Pasha had directed the police to register a case against the Cardinal, two priests and a real estate dealer. However, police lodged the FIR against the head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church only after petitioner Shine Varghese approached the court again with a contempt of court petition against the police over delay.
Police had on Monday lodged the criminal case, but postponed Alancherry’s arrest on the ground that they had moved an appeal in the division bench. On Wednesday, Justice Pasha pulled up the police for delay in lodging of the FIR against the Cardinal and others. Pasha had questioned the police decision to seek legal opinion on his order to register the case. The division bench order is a major relief for the Cardinal at a time when priests of the Ernakulam Archdiocese are demanding his exit.
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