My Representation of My Own Case Will Empower Other Women: Sister Lucy

Fighting for justice, Sister Lucy Kalapurra became the first nun to represent her own case at the Kerala High Court on 14th July, 2021. She attended the virtual hearing and argued her expulsion from the Franciscan Clarist Convent (FCC) in Karakkamala.

Talking to GoaChronicle about the preceding circumstances which made Sister Lucy argue her own case at the Kerala High Court, she divulged, “Yesterday, I myself appeared before the court as a party in person in my case. There were a lot of problems during the last few weeks. I had filed a writ petition in August, 2020 seeking police protection for myself. I had got the interim order for police protection on that very day but due to the ongoing pandemic, no hearing was scheduled. After 10 days, a counter statement was filed against the court order by the opposite party. Through the counter, they requested the court to throw me out of the convent. My advocate and I were ready for the repercussions after this. My advocate then told me that he would make the needed submissions on that very day. But unfortunately, at the time of the next hearing which was held in June, 2021, I got to know through my advocate that he had not made his submissions to the court even till that time. He was highly irresponsible and kept on citing some technicality or the other throughout.”

“All this troubled me. Then, all of a sudden, the court ordered that I should move out of the convent because the dismissal order was confirmed by the supreme tribunal. The court produced an interim order but even that was not conveyed by the advocate properly to me. He had said it was only an observation but it was an interim order which stated that police protection would be provided to me only when I went out of the convent. In that critical situation, I had to get help from a senior advocate but he told me that he would take up the case only if the junior advocate would relinquish the same. Hence, after the relinquishment of the old advocate, I had the new one now. To hand all the legal paperwork to him, I had to travel to Kochi and that was really expensive too. But dealing with him too was not that comfortable. The next day, he had to appear and he did with the case files and other things but as he was the new advocate, we needed some more time. Therefore, the court granted us one more week till yesterday, July 14th. What happened was that the court told him directly that there was nothing much for him to do as the order was already written. So he told the court that we were not aware about that and had heard from the older advocate that it was just an observation and not an order. After coming out from the court, the senior advocate told me that he would not fight the case anymore and would hand over all the files back to me. In such a critical situation, I was forced to argue my case on my own”, Sister Lucy added.

Sister Lucy then let us know about her experience during the virtual court hearing, “It was a virtual hearing and a first for me. The court listened to me very carefully and I appreciate this fact and this definitely made me more confident. I was told that I would have to move out of the convent in order to get complete protection. After which I informed the court that I would be staying in the convent because I had a stay order from the civil court of Mananthavady where I stay. I had filed a case against my dismissal in 2019 itself. And I told the court that I had the right to continue living in the convent and needed protection there as there were problems there. I have submitted my statement to the court. I hope that the judgment will be issued after a few days.”

Sharing her message to the society, sister said, “The reason why I stood before the court myself and argued my own case was because of some of the bad experiences and high fees charged by lawyers. I now feel proud of that because I realize that every woman who needs legal aid in any matter can appear before the court and argue for their own selves. I think all those women who are facing troubles pertaining to legal advice and help, will get encouraged and motivated after my appearance at court. I hope all such women, including me get justice.”

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s viewpoint. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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