On February 15, a year-old employed in a private financial firm was collecting proofs to avoid paying excess tax. As his wife sat beside him, he stumbled upon a bank statement which showed Rs 9, deducted from her towards a bill from a five-star Kochi hotel in January.
Jump to. Kottayam, India — A district court on March 16 rejected a defense application to dismiss the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal and directed him to stand trial next week, a source inside the hearing said. The order from the District and Sessions Court in Kottayam has intensified the demand from some groups that the church should remove Mulakkal as the bishop of Jalandhar, a diocese in the northern Indian state of Punjab.
As in the last few court sessions, the March 16 proceedings were closed to the media and the public. On that date, Judge G. Gopakumar will hear arguments on two petitions: one to ban media from covering the trial, the other to find the prosecution and the media in contempt for publicizing records without court permission.
Babu, the public prosecutor, told Global Sisters Report outside the courtroom. Mulakkal's senior advocate, Raman Pillai, argued for almost 10 hours in the three sessions that the prelate is innocent. The public prosecutor objected to dismissing the case and cited the recorded evidence to assert the bishop was guilty.
Babu said the court found enough reasons to believe there is a case against Mulakkal after going through the woman looking for sex kuravalangad sheet against him.
Mulakkal is accused of raping the former superior general of the Missionaries of Jesus 13 times between and at a convent in Kuravilangad near Kottayam. A special investigation team that probed the complaint against Mulakkal filed a 2, charge sheet in a lower court in April The case was later transferred to the Kottayam court, in the southwestern state of Kerala, for trial.
Mulakkal faces charges of wrongful confinement, rape of a woman incapable of giving consent, causing grievous bodily harm during rape, unnatural offense or sodomyand criminal intimidation.
Sex scandals, land scam, and charges of suppressing cases against priests. as kerala church, across denominations, fights the accusations, the indian express reports on what has brought it here and the debate within.
The prelate and his team tried to delay the trial, seeking 17 postponements before the case came to the trial court in Kottayam. Mulakkal was summoned to appear Nov. The prelate, however, took nine postponements so that the court could not read, or "frame," the charges against him.
He has not been in court since Nov. Asked whether Mulakkal would appeal the latest dismissal order, his brother-in-law, P. Chacko, said they would decide the matter after studying the court's directive.
Legal experts say Mulakkal can now appeal to the Kerala High Court. If he is denied, his next step is to the Supreme Court, the top court in the country, based in New Delhi.
The public protest drew support of five Missionaries of Jesus nuns and thousands of people from various religions and ideologies. It eventually led to Mulakkal's arrest and imprisonment on September 21, The Kerala High Court granted him conditional bail on Oct 15, Antony also wants the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India to implement its zero-tolerance policy to clergy sex abuse by removing Mulakkal as the Jalandhar bishop, especially after the latest court decision.
At the conference's biennial gathering in February, bishops reaffirmed their commitment to the zero-tolerance policy. Mulakkal had stepped down as the bishop in September before he came to Kerala to face police interrogation before his arrest. He returned to Jalandhar after he was granted bail.
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Antony and others have urged the bishops' conference to restrain Mulakkal from offering Mass and conducting other religious activities. Roshan Joseph, a Catholic lay leader in the Jalandhar Diocese, says local Catholics have welcomed the court's latest order.
Joseph also said Mulakkal had told church groups in Jalandhar that the Kottayam court would dismiss the case against him and that he would return as the full-fledged Jalandhar bishop. Jalandhar Catholics have renewed their demand for a native prelate to replace Mulakkal, who was born in Kerala.
Scores of priests and hundreds of nuns from Kerala now serve the Jalandhar Diocese, which now functions under an administrator appointed by Pope Francis the day before the bishop's arrest.
Virginia Saldanhaa Catholic theologian who also had sought Mulakkal's dismissal, says the latest court order is "a small but ificant victory for the survivor. It shows that our justice system will not bow down to power, and that is very crucial in this case.
Anupama Kelamangalathuveli, the spokesperson for the survivor and her supporters, says the court order has vindicated their stand.
At least now they all should understand the reality," she told GSR over the phone from their convent in Kuravilangad. She says they want a speedy trial "as any delay can derail justice, as Mulakkal and his team could influence the witnesses.
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Another witness from the same congregation came forward Feb. Kelamangalathuveli says witnesses now lead a difficult life. One of them, Franciscan Clarist Sr. Lissy Vadakkel, says her congregation pressures her to change her testimony and support Mulakkal. I live in police protection as an outcast or untouchable, not for securing my life, but to live until I record my statement in the court.
He woman looking for sex kuravalangad worked for several mainstream newspapers such as The Times of India. This article is part of a collaboration between GSR and Matters Indiaa news portal that focuses on religious and social issues in India. Indian court rejects Bishop Mulakkal's plea to dismiss rape case Mar 17, This article appears in the Bishop Mulakkal trial feature series.
View the full series. The court directed Mulakkal to appear for trial on March The court order came after more than 15 hours of closed-door hearings in three court sessions. The congregation functions under the Jalandhar Diocese with the bishop as its patron. If the upper court does not issue a stay, the district court in Kottayam can proceed to trial. Meanwhile, several groups have demanded divesting Mulakkal of his office. Even some Catholics in Punjab want Mulakkal's removal as their leader.
Nuns in india tell of long history of sex abuse at the hands of priests
Lissy Vadakkel, a key witness in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, displays lockets of saints, a rosary, religious relics and a crucifix engraved with "Missionaries of Jesus," the congregation of the rape survivor. Saji Thomas.
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In this series
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