The Supreme Court today asked the Kerala police not to arrest two clergymen of the Malankara Orthodox Church in connection with the rape case till July 19, when their anticipatory bail plea will be taken up for hearing.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was informed by Kerala government that two of the accused have surrendered, while two are before the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
Senior advocate V Giri, appearing for the Kerala government which had filed caveat in the matter had said that it is a serious matter.
He further said that the state government was opposing the plea for their anticipatory bail.
Senior advocate R Basant, appearing for Father Sony Verghese said that their is specific allegation of rape and his case cannot be clubbed with other accused in the case and should be separated.
The bench, however, said that the issue requires proper consideration and will take it up for hearing on July 19.
Basant said interim protection for the accused from arrest should be granted till the matter is taken up for hearing.
The bench said the Kerala police should not arrest the accused till July 19.
Father Sony Verghese and Father Jaise K George had yesterday moved the apex court seeking anticipatory bail in the case after their plea was rejected by Kerala High Court on July 11.
The high court had asked them to surrender to the police forthwith.
Four priests attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church are accused of sexually abusing a 34-year-old married women by using her confessional statement,
The crime branch had on July 2 registered a case against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of statements given by a woman belonging to the same Church accusing them of sexually assaulting her on many occasions.