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Pullichira Church administration – Kollam District Court grants leave to institute Suit July 6, 2011

Posted by pullichira in Uncategorized.
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LANDMARK JUDGMENT BY KOLLAM DISTRICT COURT

The Honourable Kollam Additional District Judge R.Sudhakaran has passed an Order granting leave to institute a Suit for settling a Scheme for the administration and management of Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Pullichira; and to appoint new trustees for the assets of the Church; and also to direct enquiries of accounts of the Church for the period from 17-05-2005. The leave was granted to the petitioners, Mr Celestine Dismas, Mr Maryson N.S, Mr C.R.Francis & Mr Francis Stansilaus who are members of Pullichira Parish, to represent the Parishioners interested in the Trust.

The Petitioners had alleged breach of trust, mismanagement and misappropriation of the funds of the Church, which is Public Religious Trust. The Diocesan Bishop, Kaikaaran, the Parish Priest, and the former Parish Priest, Fr Lazar S.Pattakadavu were the Respondents in the Petition.

The yearly income of the Church is more than Rupees One Crore. There is no effective and legal administrative system or machinery and there is no scheme framed to administer all affairs of the Church. There must be an elected body of Parishioners to vest administration and management of the affairs of the Church. Every member should have right to participate and Vote in the General Body. The Petitioners had alleged that millions of rupees from the income of the Church are being misappropriated by persons at the helm of affairs of the Church. There is no proper accounting. Parishioners are not having any idea on the assets and liabilities of the Church. The savings of the Church at various Banks are done at the whims and fancies of the Parish Priest. The Trust fund is being wasted in the form of unnecessary and unwanted constructions. An amount of Rupees Ten Lakhs was donated to a private trust without any consent or approval of the Parishioners. There is large scale misappropriation of funds in purchase of land. Many Sale Deeds are executed in the name of the Church for purchase of property showing very high sale consideration than the actual market value. Therefore the Petitioners sought leave of the Kollam District Court for filing a Suit for settling a scheme for better administration and management of the Church, to appoint new trustees for the assets of the Church and to direct enquiries of accounts of the Church for the period from 17-05-2005.

The Respondents had objected the Petition stating that the Church is not a Public Religious Trust. They stated that the Church is not dedicated to Parishioners as claimed by the Petitioners. The stated that Canon Law prevails over Indian Constitution and Indian Laws in the matter of administration of the assets of the Church. They even went to the extent of making veiled threats of dire consequences, if Indian Courts interfered in the matter of administration of Church assets.

The Honourable Court found that such objections will not sustain and had allowed the Petition.

Adv M.I.Alexander Panicker, Adv Boris Paul & Adv G.Vijayakumar appeared before the Court on behalf of the Petitioners.

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