Kerala Church Rape Case: SC Asks Two Priests To Surrender
The Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the interim protection from arrest given to the two priests from the Malankara church in Kerala. The two priests are accused of raping a married woman and blackmailing her over the phone. The Supreme Court has also ordered the two clergymen to surrender by August 13. The court cancelled their interim protection saying they could seek regular bail only after surrendering.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan passed the order after the complainant’s lawyer alleged that the accused had uploaded some videos on the Internet and they were using the videos to blackmail her.
On July 27, the court had asked the Kerala police to file a status report on the probe done so far. The court had asked them to submit the report within two weeks on the investigation into the charges of the sexual abuse. The accused include four priests associated with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church priests.
The priests are accused of raping and molesting a 34-year-old woman. They reportedly used a woman’s confession secret and blackmailed her
A confession is a form of church practice which is considered as a form of penance. It is meant to be a secret under church laws.
The National Commission of Women had earlier suggested that the practice of confessions in churches should be stopped.
The Crime Branch of the Kerala Police registered the case on July 2. A case was filed against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of a statement given by the woman. The incident came to light when the woman’s husband recovered an audio clip related to the case. After the recovery of the clip, the church initiated their investigations.
Two priests have surrendered whereas the other two are seeking anticipatory bail. On July 19, two priests — Father Sony Verghese and Father Jaise K George — were granted protection from arrest. The Supreme Court had granted them protection till the court pronounced a verdict on their anticipatory bail pleas. The two had moved the court seeking anticipatory bails. The Kerala High Court rejected their bail plea on July 11.
The Malankara Orthodox Church suspended all four priests after the complaint was filed.
Deepali Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV