Church land row goes to India’s Supreme Court

The petitioner also seeks to keep Christian judges off the case in the High Court

By Matters India

New Delhi: The land deal case involving the head of the Syro-Malabar Church has gone to the highest court in India.

A petition in the Supreme Court on March 22 seeks immediate quashing of a lower court ruling that ordered a stay on police enquiry into Cardinal George Alencherry’s role in the controversial deal.

Martin Payyappilly, a resident of Angamaly parish under the archdiocese, filed the petition to vacate the stay and allow police to continue its probe.

The petition also requests the apex court’s chief justice to hear the Kerala High Court ruling that halted the police inquiry into land sale.

The petitioner also seeks to keep Christian judges off the case in the High Court.

Payyapallil reportedly plans to engage senior Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal in the case.

The Kerala High Court on March 6 ordered the police to register a case against Cardinal Alencherry and three others in connection with the sale of several plots of land that allegedly caused millions of rupees of loss to the archdiocese.

However, the order was stayed ten days later by a division bench headed by Kerala High Court Chief Justice Antony Dominic. The bench acted on a petition filed by Shine Varghese from Cherthala, another parish in the archdiocese. His petition alleged that he had received damp response from the police to his complaint alleging anomaly the land deal.

The division bench also said any action taken on the Single Judge order would neither affect the cardinal nor the others. It then posted the case to April 3. With that order, the investigation based on the First Information Report registered by the police could not continue until further court orders.

The FIR was against the cardinal, Fathers Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakumpadan and middleman Saju Varghese.

Father Puthuva had handled the finances of the archdiocese and Father Vadakumpadan was in-charge of its lands. Saju Varghese, a Kochi-based real estate agent, had also filed appeals.

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5 thoughts on “Church land row goes to India’s Supreme Court

  1. Hindu judges of Kerala will be more gracious with syromalabar church than the catholic ones, I see from Malayalee social media.
    when this church is on its move to patriarchate or popes Francis’s arrival to Kerala arrival are all happy news for non Christian community of Kerala unlike the priests and nuns (congregations who believes they are beyond Syro-Malabar church- pontifical congregations). Major Archbishop becoming patriarch is a welcome news for all laity (except the malicious and ignorant, prone to criticism to instant fake news) and good priests and good bishops and Kerala community as a whole and heads of the many nonchristian religious representatives. This is what we see from the social media.
    The problem really here is not the ernakulam diocesan priests who are only projected because of their foolishness, but the religious politics developed since long time in Ernakulam belt. it is a headquarters of many of the religious congregations(changanacherry never promoted religious congregations with their mark/euro adulterous games with their religious circle), this lobby has even number of bishops in the synod to vehemently present their views. And to pressurise from Vatican and to the sections, the dependant people in their institutions. Most of the time former major arch bishops were threatened by this lobby. The nun religious are against the cardinal for compulsorily alloting their members for its headquarter services. Now the lobby is scared of loosing their pontifical privileges and loose behaviour like wearing sari, and their licentious behaviour (syromalabar traditional family people will never approve it). They don’t want to be under patriarch of syromalabar church (where control of the parents the laity is going to increase).. The last attempt is to chase this most capable person to be put out of screen, cunningly. This is the reason people find it confusing the issue. The issue is not land or bishop auxiliary or priests of ekm (still to understand why auxiliary and priests of ernakulam in this mess). It is fight for power, and fear of loosing their status in rome, which they acquired with many clever documents…. And not ready to make amendment in due time As church is growing…

    It is a story of white cloth religious with burial dirt smell inside, difficult to find out where it come from… When we look we see only some good religious preaching for repentance, and cannot think of other than them in religious congregations.

    Beware to play with them even most efficient cardinal is in their trap…

    Kerala laity is more powerful than any of the above said duplicate representative of church….
    It is land case because cardinal could have tried to scolded many generals and religious clever in land dealings whose malpractice brought to his notice… So it is a retaliation in clever manner through its own children…the real culprits are behind the curtain, even in nurses issues.
    It is To be find out why axilary and its beloved priests brought into the main stream in such a cunning manner. Ernakulam priests are lacking traditional backup in comparison with the changanacherry.
    May God Save the church to bring right discipline in this church…and the religious kept under obedience of the magisterium of the Catholic teaching and canon law…

  2. Dear Mr. Madathiparampil, Is it not fair that the Christian judges of the court stay away from the case involving the churches? It is common knowledge that some Christian judges interfered in the Sr.Abahya case. To avoid the conflict of interests, Christian judges should not be in the panel of judges hearing the Ernakulam land deal case.

  3. Fr. Madathiparampil’s observation of the situation finger points to a conspiracy to set up cardinal and create a messy situation like this in Syro-Malabar church. Many faithfuls of the church stronly agree with Fr. Madathiparampil. In a conspiracy, all are equally responsible in front of the court of law.
    It is very absurd to cast doubt on Supreme Court judges only based on their faith. It is a preemptive strike on India’s legal system and the Supreme Court judges.

  4. Things are hotting up. It also has much wider ramifications. Other than the facts of the instant case there is the bigger issue of the ownership and management of community assets. The laity must rise as one demanding implementation of the various provisions of Canon Law regarding the “Temporal Goods” of the church.

    There should be no going back now.

    We also need something like RTI in the church to curb corruption and increase accountability and transparency

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