EC orders probe into pastoral letter July 30, 2010Posted by Boris Paul in Uncategorized.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/KOCHI: The State Election Commission has directed the Ernakulam District Collector to inquire into the church directive to the followers not to vote for candidates who are non-believers, in the local body elections.
The State Election Commission sought a report from the Collector after it received numerous complaints regarding the pamphlet issued by the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council which also cautioned the faithful on independents contesting the elections but ‘later relenting to party directives.’ Recently, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan too had slammed the KCBC message to the followers to be watchful about independents contesting the elections with CPM backing and had asked the Church to keep off politics.
One of the complaints received was from Ernakulam in which the complainant included a copy of the pamphlet, the Election Commission authorities said.
Meanwhile, KCBC said on Thursday that it is not concerned about the legal aspects of reading out a pastoral letter in connection with the panchayat elections.
KCBC spokesperson Stephen Alathara said during the last Lok Sabha polls too the KCBC had read out a pastoral letter in churches.
“That time also the Election Commission had carried out a probe. They found nothing wrong in it. KCBC issues all documents, including circulars, after consulting with our legal cell. The advocates at the legal cell had cleared the circular. Hence, we have no concerns about it,” he said.
Through the pastoral letter, the KCBC hasn’t told the believers to vote for anyone.
“The attempt from KCBC was only to strengthen the democratic values through the circular,” Fr Stephen Alathara said. So far, the KCBC has not got any official communication from the Election Commission on the issue.
Once it gets an official communication, KCBC will take further action in this regard.