Indian Catholic News

Court bars Kollam bishop from selling land, spending funds

The petitioners also submitted that the bishop, who is above 75 years of age, is only a caretaker of the diocese under the Canon Law.

 
Kollam: 

A lower court in Kollam district has passed an order restricting Bishop Stanly Roman of Quilon from taking policy decisions on sale of diocesan properties and diocesan funds.

The order of munsiff court in Kollam pronounced by additional munsiff Jyothi Babu R comes on a petition filed by members of the Church Act Action Council on Mar 24.

The munsiff, however, said that the order shall not in any way restrain the bishop from performing his religious functions, The Times of India reported.

The petitioners, Thankachan L and Hillary Zacharia, submitted before the court that the bishop had sold the property of the diocese at Kottiyam and leased out another property in Kollam city. They alleged that there are plans to sell more diocesan properties and withdraw huge amounts from the bank accounts of the diocese.

The petitioners also submitted that the bishop, who is above 75 years of age, is only a caretaker of the diocese under the Canon Law.

The bishop, in his submission, said the allegations raised by the petitioners were ‘cooked up’ in order to cover up their illegalities. One of the petitioners is a teacher at a school under the management of the diocese, he said.

The ulterior motives include amassing huge contributions from persons interested in developing hatred against the Catholic Church, the bishop said.

The additional munsiff, in her order, said that since the bishop has crossed the age of 75, he has a moral obligation not to take any policy decisions and thereby he should be precluded from taking such policy decisions.

The court also said apprehension of the petitioners can be concluded as genuine as they have a right to protect the interests of the community as the properties of the diocese are for the welfare of the community at large.

The court concluded that the petition has a prima facie case and hence the bishop is restrained.

Diocesan spokesperson Father George Rebeiro said the lawyers are working on to appeal in a higher court. "We will soon appeal and we are hopeful of getting this verdict vacated," he said.

The controversy and restrictions on the bishop have similarities with the legal restrictions imposed on Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop and Cardinal George Mar Alencherry in the land row case related to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.

Source: Times of India

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