KOTTAYAM: Miffed by the delay on the state government’s part in implementing the Supreme Court orders on the church row involving opposite factions, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) has decided to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Chief Secretary Tom Jose and other officers.
In line with this, Church secretary Biju Oommen on Wednesday served notice on the Chief Secretary apprising him of the MOSC move to initiate contempt of court proceedings unless the apex court orders are implemented within seven days of receiving the notice. According to the Church authorities, there is wilful disobedience on the part of the government in implementing the court’s fiat.
“Despite the apex court judgment, order and directions, the Chief Secretary has not served any order or given the necessary directive to subordinate officials, including the police, to implement or enforce the same when obstructions and disobedience of the Patriarch group were brought to notice. At the same time, conferences and meetings of officials, including police heads, were convened by the Chief Secretary, to discuss and instruct, it is understood, how not to enforce the orders of the Supreme Court in the Malankara Church cases,” the letter stated.
Further, it says though the court in its July 2, 2019 order had directed the state and all parties to abide by the judgment in its entirety and not to solve the matter in any other manner, the government constituted a Cabinet sub-committee to settle the dispute. This amounts to a breach of the direction of the court. Despite the Orthodox Church intimating the government of its disinclination towards mediatory efforts on the issue, the sub-committee has been holding meetings, with the latest one taking place on July 31.
The SC, through several decisions from 1958 to 2018, has already settled that the Malankara Church is to be administered under its 1934 constitution. With yet another order on February 26, 2019, it directed the authorities to act in terms of its earlier judgment.
“When specific complaints about the breach and violations were pointed out for remedial action, the Chief Secretary referred them to the illegally appointed committee for taking follow-up action thereby failing in his official duty to enforce law and order and the Supreme Court’s direction to implement the judgment, which is yet another instance of contempt of court,” it said. “The Chief Secretary, the government and some officials are acting as if the government is above the law and needn’t adhere to the verdict pronounced by the country’s topmost court,” it added.