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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Kerala Christian nun rape case : lawyer refuses to fight case, nun to represent herself

In a first of a kind move, a Catholic nun on Wednesday appeared as “party in person” in the Kerala High Court to fight her own case.

Sister Lucy Kalapurakkal was dismissed from the church at Kerala’s Manathavady in August 2019 by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, after getting the Vatican’s clearance, for disobeying church authorities.

Since then, she has been fighting her case and she refused to move out from the convent in Wayanad district that she is residing in.

On Wednesday after her counsel withdrew for personal reasons, the nun herself appeared as party in person and said that since she already has the case against her congregation in another court, she should be allowed to reside at her convent, till its verdict comes.

She also wanted a review of an earlier directive of the High Court, which, in the course of the proceedings in the case, expressed doubts if she can continue to reside in the convent.

Making a passionate plea, Sister Lucy, noting that she has completed 25 years of service as a nun and wish to continue the same way, said she has nowhere to go and should not be driven on to the streets.

She requested police protection at the place where she resides in the convent.

But the counsel for the congregation contended that as a rule, a nun, when she moves from one place to another place, should only stay in a convent and Sister Lucy, in the course of conducting the case, has violated all this.

The court, however, pointed out that they are prepared to ensure that she gets protection to her life and property, wherever she stays.

The court later posted the case for giving its final verdict.

Sister Lucy had supported the nuns’ strike in the state demanding the arrest of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar.

However, she became a target of the Church authorities after she joined the nuns protest against the delay in Mulakkal’s arrest despite the FIR against him.

But even though she was asked to move out from the convent then, she got an order from a court that she should not be forced out and has been staying there since then.

Since then she had been receiving notices from the church on charges such as airing her opinion about the bishop on TV channels, owning a car, and writing a book.

Incidentally, the Kerala High Court, in December 2019 declined to ban the nun’s autobiography titled “Karthavinte Namethil (In the name of Christ)” and it was released later.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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