“What is happening in Kerala, priests are becoming accused in rape cases”, the Supreme Court wondered as it asked the state police to file a status report on the investigation done against four clergymen accused of sexually abusing a married woman.
The top court also refused to stay the trial of another alleged rape case involving a priest from Kerala. The trial in the case is scheduled to start from August 1.
“What is happening in Kerala, priests are becoming accused in rape cases,” said a bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
The bench directed the state police to file a status report on the investigation done so far into the sexual abuse case, involving four priests attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.
It asked the counsel for Kerala Police to file the status report within two weeks and posted the matter for August 6.
The two accused priests — Father Sony Verghese and Father Jaise K George — have been granted protection from arrest by the top court till it pronounced a verdict on their anticipatory bail plea.
On July 19, the top court had said the protection from arrest granted to two clergymen would continue till it pronounced the verdict on their anticipatory bail.
The clergymen had moved the Supreme Court seeking anticipatory bail in the case after their plea was rejected by the Kerala High Court on July 11.
Four priests attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church are accused of sexually abusing a 34-year-old married woman by using her confessional statement.
The court was earlier informed that two of the accused had surrendered, while two were before the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
The Crime Branch wing of the Kerala Police had on July 2 registered a case against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of a statement given by the woman belonging to the same church accusing them of sexually assaulting her on many occasions.