Kerala Govt. order Probe against Catholic bishops for implementing Vatican Laws in India

published on October 7, 2008

Kerala Govt orders probe against Catholic bishops 

IANS | Kozhikode

The Kerala Government has asked the Director General of Police (DGP) to institute a high-level probe against 13 bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church following a complaint that the Church was implementing religious laws that were against the constitution.

The complaint was by a laity organisation called Catholic Laymen’s Association (CLA). They received a letter from the Kerala additional chief secretary informing them about the probe.

M.L. George, the CLA central executive committee secretary, said that the organisation “had given a complaint to the State Chief Secretary to take action against the Church for implementing the laws of Vatican which is against nationalism, Constitution and civil rights.” “The laws are being imposed on the laity in the name of faith,” he said.

The CLA had requested the Government to institute an inquiry headed by an officer not below the rank of an Inspector General of police.

The letter from the Additional Chief Secretary says that the Government has already given instruction to the State DGP for the probe.

In its complaint, the CLA said the diocesan curia in the Syro-Malabar Church were functioning as parallel courts. “We have complained against the functioning of tribunals in diocesan curia. It levies court fees and follows such procedures as in the case of ordinary courts.”

The organisation also complained that the Church is evading taxes, he said, adding that it may be the first time in the country that a Government was ordering a probe against bishops.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council, an apex body of bishops, said the complaint has ‘no merit’ and was in accordance with ‘a particular law’ of the Indian constitution. “The complaint is without basis,” Stephen Alathara, KCBC spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Kodiyeri Bala-krishnan said the Government had ordered a probe following a complaint from a Christian organisation.

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