Supreme Court Orders Kerala Rape-Accused Priests To Surrender, Denies Anticipatory Bail

Supreme Court Orders Kerala Rape-Accused Priests To Surrender, Denies Anticipatory BailA Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. (Alw1216 /Wikemedia Commons )

The Supreme Court has denied anticipatory bail to two of the four priests accused in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church rape case, Bar and Bench has reported. Further, the court has ordered the accused to surrender by 13 August and then seek a regular bail. They have been booked under sections 376, 354, 354A, 506(i) of the Indian Penal Code.

During the hearing, advocates of the rape victim informed the court that a video had been used to blackmail and prevent them from cooperating with the investigation. The court was also informed that the video containing disparaging remarks about the victim was uploaded on social media.

Four priests of the church have been accused of raping a married woman for over a decade by blackmailing her using the details of her confession. This case had also led to National Commission of Women (NCW) asking for a ban on confessions. The church had opposed the NCW’s demand on the grounds of religious freedom.

Justice A K Sikri while dictating the order remarked that the case was not fit for granting anticipatory bail. The anticipatory bail application of the priests had earlier been rejected by the Kerala High Court before the Supreme Court’s rejection.