KOTTAYAM: In a major setback to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, former head of the Latin Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Kottayam, on Monday dismissed the discharge petition filed by him in connection with the rape case registered against him by the Kuravilangad police.
The judge G Gopakumar directed bishop Mulakkal to face the trial in the case, which was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a Catholic nun of the same diocese.
Bishop Franco, who didn’t turn up before the court on the day, had filed the discharge petition on January 25, while the court was supposed to commence preliminary hearing on charges against him.
Though the bishop in the petition requested the court to discharge him from the case without even stepping into the hearing as the nun fabricated a story out of her personal grudge to him, the court observed that all the charges levelled against the accused in the charge sheet will remain.
The claim of the accused that the prosecution witnesses are not trustworthy and there was no cogent evidence in the entire episode was turned down by the court.
The court will consider the case for further proceedings to March 24. The court has postponed the petition submitted by the accused to ban the media from reporting about the case and its trial for consideration to the same day.
This apart, a contempt of court case, filed by the accused against the prosecution and the media for releasing a document in the case in public will also be considered on March 24.
Last time Bishop Franco had appeared before the court on November 30 and had secured an extension for his bail. After, hearing on charges and examination of the witnesses, the framing of the charges against the accused will be followed in the court. The accused will have to turn up in the court for every posting but can request for exemption in exceptional conditions.