A Note on Nechoor St. Thomas Church Case Order from Hon. Kerala High Court


A Note on Nechoor St. Thomas Church Case Order from Hon.
Kerala High Court

I got a copy of the order on Nechoor St. Thomas Church
Case  from the Hon. Kerala High Court
Website (http://judis.nic.in/kerala/qrydisp.asp?tfnm=122450).
I am surprised to see lot of jubilation on the part of the Jacobite Syrian
Christian Association Church people in this regard. I am afraid there is not
much for them to be happy about in this order. I would give these reasons:

1. Yes the Hon. Court dismissed the petition of the Orthdoox
Church representatives without allowing their requests. But the Hon. High Court
did not do it on question of merit. The Hon. Court found the case registered
not in accordance with the law regarding Trust Properties. The Hon. Court said
the Church is a public institution and therefore any case filed regarding its
properties and the rights of the trustees need to be filed according to the
provisions of Section 92 of CPC.  So the
Hon. Court said “The suit will stand dismissed as not maintainable” (page 50).
The court found it not possible to allow any of the requests of the Orthodox
Church (the question regarding the binding nature of the 1934 constitution can
only be considered in a case executed properly. The court has not said that
the 1934 constitution is not applicable to the Church!).  This does not mean that there is no valid
argument on the part of the Orthodox Church. Also there is no reason to believe
that the Association Church people have the right to hold on to the said
Church. This again is proven by a statement given by the Hon. Court as an
appendix to the order.

2. As said in the last sentence of the previous point, the
court observed that the whole issue is brought to the court because the parties
cannot agree on ‘reunion or togetherness’. The court clearly understood the
spirit of the judgment of the Supreme Court in this regard as unification of
‘two warring factions among the Syrian Christians’.  So the situation in which the Association party
is reluctant for the unity of the Church is indirectly addressed by the Hon.
Court.

3. The Hon. Court also addresses the question of dividing
the Church and establishing it as two separate Churches (In Malayalam they
always say ‘bhagichu piriyam’). The Hon. Court says that it is an ‘ugly’
proposal which will only add to the present situation of rivalry and fighting.
The attitude of the Association Church which asks for dividing the Church is
addressed here as a misuse of ‘fundamental right of freedom to profess and
propagate religion. See the phrases used by the Hon. Court: “some people
believe in the harmony of brotherlihood through dissension; or may be, the
misplaced realisation that there is nothing more powerful than the Plutocratic
clout” (page 51). Will this judgment open their eyes, I wonder!!

This is another call from the highest court of the sate for
the unification of the Church.

I hope the good Lord will open their eyes.

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