KOCHI: Expressing concern over the unending dispute between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions in the state, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday made it clear that the Supreme Court verdict in the K S Varghese case upholding the 1934 constitution of the Malankara Church should be implemented. The court only intended to maintain peace in the state.
“The continuance of the dispute can only help vested interests and not the real devotees on either side,” the court said, and asked both sides to abide by the 1934 constitution and permit the churches to function as the abode of God, rather than as a place of war.
“I am trying to maintain peace in the state. The Supreme Court has been trying to do the same through successive judgments.
This dispute has now gone too far and wide. This is the time for everyone to understand this fight cannot continue,” observed Justice Devan Ramachandran. The court issued the order when the petition filed by the orthodox faction seeking police protection for the administration of several churches in the state came up for hearing. The court is not in favour of sending police to churches to implement the SC’s order, the judge said.
However, if the court is pushed to it, certainly that option will have to be explored and necessary force may have to be ordered. The court reminded the counsel for both factions that it cannot recognise ‘factions’. Every parishioner will have the unbridled right to take part in the activities of the churches including the management as long as they abide by the 1934 constitution.
“Both factions will now have to understand that the history of litigation with respect to the churches virtually ended with the verdict in K S Varghese case. This being the situation, one would certainly understand how the rift between these two sections of people is still continuing and how they will call themselves factions even at this point of time.
“The deliberation from the bar, however, gives me a glimpse of hope because both sides agree that they are bound to abide by the 1934 constitution. However, it cannot be lost sight of that the erstwhile ‘factions’ were led by their own wise men and heads on ecclesiastical and temporal matters. Certainly, these persons decide how the long-standing rift between these two factions can be resolved.
This is an imperative need on account of the decisions in the K S Varghese case because from the time of the judgment, the factions in the Malankara Church cannot be in any manner countenanced,” held the court. The vicar and clergy appointed under the 1934 constitution can lead the services in the churches and only that vicar can head the management of the individual church.