Kerala court quotes Bible to warring Church factions

November 3, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Kochi, November 3, 2017: The Kerala has taken recourse to the Bible to convince two warring factions of the Orthodox Church in Kerala the need for maintain peace and harmony.

The court on November 2 quoted the Bible while disposing a police protection by St Thomas Church against the alleged violent activities of rival faction.

Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu, speaking for the division bench also comprising Justice Antony Dominic, started and concluded the judgment with verses from the Bible.

The judgment begins with the quote “Faith can move mountains: Mathew 17:20” and ends with “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you: Ephesians 4:31-32”.

With regard to the present litigation, the court, referring to the first quote, observed: “It [Faith] can move courts, too. Here, the faithful moved the courts so often that the very faith seems to have receded to the background —almost.”

Referring to the apex court judgment, the court said: “(1) Can this Court go beyond the Supreme Court’s judgment and re-appreciate the dispute on the premise that the successful party had no injunctive relief in express terms? (2) In the alternative, by appreciating the relative merits of the rival claims, can this Court let the factious groups indulge in another round of litigation, when chaotic conditions prevail at the church leading to breach of peace—and even possible loss of life?”

The Supreme Court had earlier issued directions to resolve the dispute while taking up the case, KS Varghese vs St Peter’s & Paul’s Syrian Orthodox Church. The high court refused adjudication of any controversy beyond what has been enunciated by the Supreme Court. “It is not in our province to put our own into pretty to spin on the judgment and facilitate endless litigation and possible bloodshed,” the bench said.

While ordering police protection to the church and believers, the court observed that there exists a tense law and order situation at the church premises, and, unchecked, it may cause “threat even to the life of the parishioners”.

– live law

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