KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday deferred till January 15 further proceedings based on the Single Judge’s order directing the Deputy Inspector General of Police, CRPF, Group Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, to take over the Kothamangalam Mar Thoma church if the court’s order was not complied with by the Ernakulam district collector.
The Division Bench comprising Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice T R Ravi issued the interim order while admitting the appeal filed by the state government challenging the Single Judge’s order. When the case came up for hearing, State Attorney K V Sohan submitted that the order issued on December 8 last year was beyond the jurisdiction and totally against the original order directing the Ernakulam district collector, who is the highest executive in the district to exercise powers under Chapter X of the Criminal Procedure Code, to take over possession of the church. The court cannot grant power to any other authority. The action of the Single Judge directing a Central force to take over the church premises within the state was an interference with the sovereign power of the state to control the law and order situation. It is for the state and police authorities to assess the law and order situation within the state.
The state further argued that in contempt proceedings, if the court finds that the action of the collector is contemptuous, the Single Judge can only refer the matter to the Division Bench. Hence, the Single Judge’s order violates the scheme of contempt of court proceedings.The Bench observed that the issues raised by the state government in the appeal require a serious hearing. The court also decided to examine whether the Single Judge can issue a directive in this nature in a contempt application at the admission stage. Though the Orthodox faction sought time to approach the SC challenging the present order, the Division Bench decided to post the hearing of the case on January 15.
Centre’s aim is to bring peace, ASG tells HC
Kochi: The Union Government on Thursday informed the Kerala High Court that talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two Christian factions in Kerala were aimed at bringing social harmony and peace. The Centre is trying to ensure that the unrest is contained in one way or another, it stated. Assistant Solicitor General P Vijayakumar made the submission when the Division Bench asked about the nature of talks held between the Centre and the heads of the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara Church. According to ASG, the objective of the discussion is to settle the dispute through conciliation. The PM himself has taken the responsibility and called the church leaders for talks and the process is going on, ASG submitted. The state government also submitted that the chief minister had convened three meetings in this regard.