Kochi, Feb. 14, 2019: The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church has slapped a defamation notice on the office-bearers of the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency (AMT) for the “damage to reputation” suffered on account of their Facebook posts and comments on the Church affairs.
The synod has demanded 10 million rupees each from them in compensation.
The contents of the Facebook posts were defamatory and caused damage to the reputation of the Church and Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Church, and other bishops, the synod said on February 13.
The notice listed five examples of the posts that were among those considered defamatory. The posts were “glaring cases of publishing false facts” and made with the intention of tarnishing the character and reputation and goodwill of the Church and the Major Archbishop before the public.
The AMT leaders have been given 14 days to respond.
Some social media posts of the AMT leaders criticized, among other things, a series of land transactions that were reported to have caused considerable financial loss to the archdiocese.
AMT convener Riju Kanjookkaran, one of the recipients of the defamation notice, said the transparency movement raised its voice for “justice.”
It was the first time that the synod was serving defamation notices on lay people.