Kerala High Court directive to open church

Collector put in charge of St. Mary’s Church, Poothrikka, till elections to its managing committee

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the Puthenkurisu police to open St. Mary’s Church, Poothrikka, and allow Father Aby Ulahannan, vicar, to conduct services and manage the properties of the Church in accordance with the 1934 constitution of the Malankara Church.

Justice Devan Ramachandran also directed the Ernakulam District Collector or any other officer chosen by him not below the rank of a Deputy Collector to be in the overall charge of the administration and management of the church until such time as the vicar is able to call for elections to the managing committee as per the 1934 constitution of the Church.

The court clarified that the vicar would be the president of the administration, while the Collector or his delegate would be in the overall charge of the church.

The court further ordered that the vicar would call for the parishioners’ assembly to update the parish register as per the provisions of the constitution and give an opportunity to every parish member to participate in the sacrament as had been mandated in the constitution so that the elections to the managing committee could be conducted as expeditiously as possible.

The properties will remain part of the church itself, and as such the status quo will continue until such time as either of the parties is able to establish to the contrary through a process of law, the court said.

The disputes arising with respect to the updating of the register could be brought to the notice of the court.

The court also directed the Collector to remove all temporary fencing and such other divisions within the properties of the church.

The court passed the order on a writ petition seeking police protection by the vicar for performing rituals at the church.

Meanwhile, acting on another petition, the court directed the vicar of the church at Pazhamthottam, near Puthenkurisu, to allow two persons to accept their sacrament at the church.

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