KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday held that it cannot order police protection to Sr Lucy Kalappura to continue her stay at the Franciscan Clarist Convent at Karakkamala, Wayanad. Sr Lucy was on the verge of eviction from the convent following the order of the Supremum Tribunal of Signature Apostolicae upholding the decision of the convent to oust her.
However, while disposing of the petition filed by Sr Lucy seeking police protection, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan made it clear that the court can't order her to go out of the convent. If the petitioner is residing elsewhere instead of the convent, the police should give appropriate protection if she filed a complaint alleging threat to her life after examining the genuineness of her plea, held the court.
Sr Lucy approached the court seeking a direction to prevent the convent authorities from interfering with the peaceful living and complete freedom inside the convent to access all the common areas. She also sought to provide food and water to survive. The petitioner also approached the Civil Court (Mananthavady Munsiff court) seeking to interdict the convent authorities from evicting her from the convent.
The original suit filed in 2019 is still pending in the consideration of the Munsiff court and an interim order was passed by it on December 18, 2019, restraining the convent authorities from forcefully evicting Sr Lucy from the property until January 1, 2020. Lucy contended that due to various factors which include the restricted functioning of the Munsiff court amidst the pandemic, the interim order was extended.
The high court observed that since the matter is before the Munsiff court, it would not be proper for this court to enter into a finding with regard to the right of Sr Lucy to reside in the convent as requested by her or to order eviction which is sought by the authorities of the convent.
"I am of the view that in the interest of the justice, it would be appropriate for the Munsiff to hear the application and take a decision expeditiously. If either of the parties moves a petition along with the judgment of the High Court within a period of one week, the application shall be heard and disposed of within a further period of three weeks. The parties shall be bound by the order passed by the Munsiff," observed the court.
Sr Lucy Kalappura, who appeared as party-in-person, had requested the court that she should not be thrown onto the streets and sought permission to continue the stay in the convent till the Munsiff court has taken a decision in the suit filed by her.
The Mother Superior of the convent contended that Sr Lucy has no right to continue her membership of the congregation, which has come to an end following the order of the Vatican.