Church sex scandal: SC extends protection to two clergymen

By PTI Published on Jul 20, 2018 10:44 AM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said the protection from arrest granted to two clergymen in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of a married woman will continue till it pronounces the verdict on their anticipatory bail.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan reserved its verdict in the case after the counsels for the accused and the State government presented their arguments during an in-camera hearing.

Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra granted the request for an in-camera trial by the counsel for the accused.

The bench headed by Justice Sikri said it will pronounce the verdict soon. On 17 July, the apex court had asked the Kerala police not to arrest Father Sony Verghese and Father Jaise K George attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in connection with the sex scandal till 19 July.

The clergymen had moved the apex court seeking anticipatory bail in the case after their plea was rejected by Kerala High Court on 11 July.

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 bench headed by Justice Sikri was informed in the last hearing by the Kerala government 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 2 July registered a case against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of statement given by a woman belonging to the same Church accusing them of sexually assaulting her on many occasions.