July 02, 2019

SC: Is Kerala above Rule of Law? Jacobite-Orthodox Church Dispute

[ By Titus Manickam Rock ]

Jacobite-Orthodox Church Dispute

Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and M.R. Shah came down heavily on the State of Kerala demanding to know if the state was above the rule of law. The Court warned of serious consequences and threatened to put the state’s chief secretary behind bars if the state of affairs continued.

The Court was hearing a plea for non-implementation of its 2017 judgment on a dispute between two factions of the Malankara Church on right to conduct administration and prayers in churches.

In its 2017 verdict, the apex court had held that 1,100 parishes and their churches under the Malankara Church should be controlled by the Orthodox faction as per the 1934 Malankara Church guidelines. The Jacobite church followers have been accused of preventing access to the Orthodox faction, despite the orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court may want its edict cast on the faction of its choice. But rivals and factions have been happening in Kerala since the landing of Apostle Thomas, one of Lord Jesus’ disciples in Kerala till date. Factionalism and rivalries in church affairs appear to have no end in Kerala although they go unnoticed in rest of the country.

Factionalism and rivalries juxtaposed the church annals not only due to internal pressures but external as well involving the Portuguese, the British, the Turkish Sultan and the Vatican. The only ones to be affected were the humble individual members in the disputing churches.

The Supreme Court of India appears to be the latest entrant.

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