It’s about Church finances Act! Christians approach the High Court for relief!

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Note: This is A VERY SERIOUS MATTER, for Kerala Chrstians. It is all about CHURCH ACT, as old as 2009 and initiated by as famous a person like late Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, to give equality before law for Christians as enjoyed by other religious communities in Kerala. 

While the Hundus are protected by Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Act,  Muslims by the Wakf Act,  and Sikhs by the Gurudwara Act to manage their hard earned money and properties, the Christian Laity alone who are the sole owners, and not the clergy at all,  are left in the lurch with no hold on their hard earned religious properties and finances, which are squandered away most irresponsibly by their priestly class, due to the Bishops’ financial, social and political clout, to suit their whims and fancies with no accountability whatsoever to any one else!

It is after the laity in Kerala have resorted to and exhausted  all reasonable pacific ways to cajole and counsel the adamant erring clergy, not amenable to rhyme and reason, that they are using this Vajrauth, the Writ Petition, in the Kerala High court. We can only hope and pray, that this Court Fight, does not meet the fate of the infamous Abhaya Case!  james kottoor, editor CCV.


Please read below the detaile Court case!

Four members of the Christian community, including Catholics and non-Catholics, have approached the Kerala High court through WP (C) 30315 of 2019, seeking the following reliefs in respect of the status of the Christian community vis-à-vis Constitutional provisions; in particular in respect of the management of church assets and institutions. 

  1. To declare that the absence of any regulatory measure either by way of statutory or otherwise by the State in regard to Christian religious institutions, properties, endowments etc. as discriminatory and violative of Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.

  2. To issue a Writ of Mandamus commanding the State of Kerala to immediately take steps for the redressal of the above flagrant inequality which is violative of the constitutional mandates by taking such steps as are required in accordance with law.

  3. To issue such other writs, orders or directions as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.

The petitioners are aggrieved that the present scheme of things is detrimental to the image and integrity of the Christian community in Kerala, for want of systems of accountability for managing its assets, finances and institutions.  The petitioners include Rev. Valson Thampu, who is an ex-member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, besides being the former principal of St. Stephen’s College. 

When contacted Rev. Thampu said, “Transparency and accountability are basic to Christianity. The existing scheme of things, vitiated by the absence of necessary systemic provisions to ensure the same, imperils the image and integrity of the Christian community as a whole.This hurts the freedom of conscience granted to Christians as citizens of India. The present state of affairs makes it increasingly difficult for Christians to profess and practise their faith, as it is discredited by those who are meant to manage it. 

 Crime and corruption thrive when assets are concentrated in the hands of a few who are not required to be accountable. In a democratic country, uniform laws should exist to govern the management of the assets of all religious communities, which is not the case today. The assets of Hindus and Muslims are governed by trusts and boards. There is no justification for excluding the Christian community from such bottom-line safeguards against corruption and mismanagement. We hope that the hon’ble High Court will help rectify this long overdue anomaly.” 

The matter is posted for the instruction of the government of Kerala. The Kerala State Law Reforms Commission, under the chairmanship of Justice K. T. Thomas had, acting upon the foundation laid by the Commission headed in 2009 by Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, initiated a process for evolving legislation in this regard and evolved what is called the Church Bill of 2019. This was aborted by the pressure exerted by those whose vested interests appeared to be affected by it.

 The present petition has come at a time when, due to the Sabarimala stand-off and its adverse electoral outcome for the LDF, an apprehension exists in the corridors of state power that it is costly to incur the wrath of church leaders. At the same time, anxiety is mounting within the Chr4istian community, according to the petitioners, that unless the present situation is remedied, the spiritual health and public image of the community will be ruined beyond repair. 

_________________

BEFORE THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT RNAKULAM

W.P. (C) No. 30315 of 2019

PETITIONERS:

  1. Santhosh Thomas, aged 58 years, S/o Tharian K Thomas, Kandamchira, Kottayam – 1.

  2. Valson Thampu, aged 69 years, S/o V Rajagopal, 26 M G Nagar, Peroorkada, Thiruvananthapuram – 695 005.

  3. Kennedy M George, aged 57 years, S/o M C George, Manayanikal House, Munnani, Pala, Kottayam District.

  4. Emmanuel Thomas Mathai K, aged 23 years, S/o Santhosh Thomas, Kandamchira, Erayilkadavu, Kottayam – 1.

RESPONDENTS:-

  1. State of Kerala, represented by the Chief Secretary, Government Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram – 695 001.

  1. The Secretary to Government, Department of Law, Government of Kerala, Government Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram – 695 001.

MEMORANDUM OF WRIT PETITION FILED UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE  CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

A. The address for service of the petitioners is that of their Counsel M/s RamprasadUnni T, S M Prasanth, Renjith G, AswiniSankar R.S. and Aravind T.H.,ofM/s K Ramakumar& Associates, Advocates, “Sumthrupthi”, Kalathiparamba Cross Road, Valanjambalam, Ernakulam, Kochi 16.

B.  The address for service of the respondents is as shown above.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

  1. This Writ Application raises a substantial question of law relating to classification by exclusion infracting both Articles 14 and 25 of the Constitution of India.  It is contended that the exclusion of a certain category of citizens from legislation is itself discriminatory, particularly when there is no determinative factor to so exclude thereby clearly violating the equality clause of the Constitution of India.  Discrimination by exclusion was recently considered by the Apex Court in Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure Limited v. Union of India reported in 2019 (8) SCC 416.

2. The petitioners are Christian Indians by faith. The 1st petitioner is a legal practitioner engaged in various social and religious activities and has authored books on Christian religion and is deeply associated with Christian institutions.  He has been spearheading a movement for reforming religious practices and ending what he feels are unhealthy practice that had crept in the Christian clergies including playing ducks and drakes with its finances in the absence of any State control or capacity to control even by Catholics. The 2nd petitioner is an educationalist and retired as Principal of the St. Stephen’s College, Delhi as well and was heading various important institutions including by nomination by the Government of India. The 3rd petitioner is a lawyer, religions reformer and the 4th petitioner is a practicing Christian and a lawyer by profession. This writ petition is filed in their own interest as Christians as well as in the interest of all Christian Indians and not motivated by any other personal or parochial considerations.  They were very much concerned with the goings on in the Churches in regard to its properties and grieved at the absence of any legislation concerning Church properties alone. They had not filed any public interest litigations earlier in terms of the decision of the Supreme Court in 2010 (3) SCC 402. This litigation is filed entirely in the interest of the members of the Christian Community and the matter involved is grave and urgent leaving the petitioners with no other remedy.  The petition is filed genuinely and bonafide in substantial public interest as well to prevent a public harm or public injury.  The issue is not directly settled by any decision of any court. They have been practicing Christianity from their birth being born in respectable Christian families.

 They however, have been noticing that unlike other religious communities there being no law regulating the properties and riches of Churches in respect of Christians alone, they are subjected to hostile discrimination and serious injury to the properties owned and controlled by the Church created wholly by contributions from among Christians.  While properties belonging to Hindu religious institutions are covered by various enactments like Hindu Religious &Charitable Endowments Act and other laws and the Muslims by the Wakf Act, the GurudwaraAct, to name only a few, it is Christians who alone are discriminated by exclusion from being covered by enactments governing the running of their financial or religious institutions.

3. It is common knowledge that the Church in India owns substantial properties throughout the territories of India.  In addition to that through the running of the Churches, it has established educational institutions, hospitalsetc, which no doubt amounts to rendering services to the society in regard to its health and education.  However, there is no control by the State in the management of the properties belonging to the Church unlike the other communities.  It is wholly un-understandable why the Christian Churches alone are discriminated by the State in the matter of regulation of the properties belonging to Churches and its absolute control and management vested in the clergy without any check or balance.  It is therefore, contended that the absence of the legislation itself is discriminatory and violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the Christian Indian citizens of the country thereby infracting Articles 14, 19 and 25 of the Constitution of India.

4. It is common knowledge that the properties of the Church are mis-handled by those at the helm of affairs not only not to the advantage of the community, but to their detriment.  There has been serious allegations levelled recently against the high functionaries of the Church in respect of sale of properties, etc and some of the dignitaries of the Church had to be drawn even in Criminal cases much to the discomfiture of the believers.  To prevent law and order problems in the churches, the State machinery is spending huge amounts too. 

This is the result of absence of any legislation in regard to the properties of Christians alone and no machinery is provided to account monies received from the Christians by anybody without any State control whatever.  At the same time all monies collected by religious institutions of Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs are accounted for and governed by statutory enactments. While no doubt, the legislation is extended to other communities, in regard to Christian community and their religious activities, there exists no legislation thereby subjecting the Christian population in the country alone to discrimination and unequal treatment and leaving them to the mercy of the clergy and those who control religious affairs.  This it is submitted is patent discrimination.

5. There had been a spate of litigation concerning different churches in the State and factional feud to gain control over them.  This is not motivated by any eleemosynary object but only with selfish interest in cornering the huge wealth of the church and control its properties, educational institutions, hospitals etc.  This has a deleterious object on the entire Christian community as even though they have liberally contributed like any other faithful to the Church, they cannot have any voice either in spending or wasting of the monies that they contributed through their hard earned efforts.  There is no rhyme or reason why the Christian citizens alone can be discriminated while the Hindu and the Muslim is protected in the matter of contributions that they voluntarily makes for religious purpose and religious institutions of the respectable faiths.  This it is submitted is clearly discriminatory and subjecting the Christian citizens to detriment, disadvantage and discrimination.

6. The Church Act had been mooted with a view to prevent to a large extent this discrimination.  However, in the teeth of opposition from vested interests, the Church Act though drafted is not put into practice on account of narrow political considerations and fear of wrath from the powerful and influential clergy, which the politicians are afraid of.  The Church Act as drafted will go a long way in ameliorating the fears and apprehensions of Christian Indian citizens to some extent and will bring about some control of the huge properties owned by Christian community but the same is not implemented. The progress regarding the Church Act is tardy and wholly unsatisfactory.  The Supreme Court has declared in some cases that not including certain categories of persons similarly situated into a legislation or their exclusion by itself will bring about discrimination and thereby strike at Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India. The absence of a legislation in regard to Christian properties alone is without adequate determining principles and therefore, hit both by Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India. 

 Persons belonging to all religions are treated equally in the country.  In fact India is noted for its uniqueness and diversity. All religions are permitted to have a full play in their religious practice, faith and belief.  It is common knowledge that the Jews and Parsis,hounded out in other countries got refuge in India and they have now full freedom in the practice and propagation of their religion.  Even in regard to small communities like Sikhs there are regulations regulating their religious activities, while in a much larger community like Christians there is no legislation at all.  No discernible reasons whatever can be pointed out why Christian Indians alone are excluded from the benefit of legislation relating to the properties owned by them and altogether leaving them at the mercy of the clergy, which it has been proved is not controlling the properties in a responsible way as serious complaints are levelled even against high functionaries.

7. Article 14 of the Constitution of India declares as follows:-

“Equality before law – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.

All Indian citizens belonging to any religion or religious denominations have to be treated alike in the matter of equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.  Christian Indians are denied equality before law as there is no law operating in the field regarding hard earned properties of the Christian Indians and prevent dissipation of such properties by vested interests and unscrupulous elements.  While the protection of law is extended to Hindus, Muslims, etc it is denied to Christians alone. Protection of law means enactment of such law to protect the rights, privileges, etc of a particular class of people. There is no such protective machinery as far as Christian Indians alone are concerned as no protection is afforded to their properties by any enactment or extension of law thereby depriving them of protection of law. 

 It is therefore, submitted that absence of law in regard to properties of Christians, offends Article 14 in that the protection before law to which the members of Christian religion and denominations are also entitled along with their equals in other religions, is deprived of them thereby clearly infracting Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

8. It is true that this Hon’ble Court cannot compel any legislation to be passed.  However, this Hon’ble Court is empowered to prevent discrimination in whichever manner.  Discrimination by exclusion can be corrected by this Hon’ble Court. If a large section of the people are left from legislation thereby suffering inequality though they are equals with other religions, it is a matter which can be looked into by this Hon’ble Court and adjudicated and appropriate directions issued avoiding the patent discrimination altogether.

9. In these circumstances, to obviate and prevent the patent discrimination, the petitioners had submitted a representation to the Government of Kerala seeking immediate passing of a legislation in regard to the properties owned by Christian Indians and large number of Christian inhabitants in Kerala.  A True copy of the said representation is produced herewith and marked as Exhibit P1, and a true copy of its English translation is produced and marked as Exhibit P1 (a).  Till date it has not received any response or attention from the State Government, though the issues highlighted there are substantial, serious and needing immediate attention.  The petitioners therefore, respectfully submit that on the well settled principles of law evolved by the Apex Court in regard to the scope, content and extent of Articles 14, 19 and 25 of the Constitution, they are entitled to reliefs from this Hon’ble Court. The petitioners therefore, are seeking appropriate reliefs from this Hon’ble Courton the following mainly among other 

G R O U N D S

A.  Article 14 of the Constitution of India declares as follows:-

“Equality before law – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.

All citizens in the country are afforded equal protection of laws irrespective of religion, caste, creed or place of birth.  While religious institutions belonging to Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs, etc are afforded statutory protection by effective control regarding administration and spending of money to avoid squandering of public money, there is no corresponding legislation in regard to Christians. In short equal protection of laws is denied to the members of the Christian community in regard to management of their religious institutions, properties, Chapels, etc.  This it is submitted is patently discriminatory. When the State affords equal protection of laws, such protection it is submitted cannot be denied to one section of the people though they are numerically small. This amounts to flagrant infraction against them as the protective umbrella of the State is not extended to their properties, monies and their religious institutions, while the same is afforded to similarly situated persons. In Magoun v. Illinois Trust (1898) 170 US 283, the American Supreme Court declared as follows:-

“Class legislation discriminating against some and favouring others is prohibited, but legislation which, in carrying out a public purpose, is limited in its application, is not prohibited, if within the sphere of its operations it affects alike all person similarly situated.”

Similarly in a later decision reported in Lindsley v. Natural Carbolic Co., (1911) 220 US 61 the Court said as follows:

“Equal protection of the laws means subjection to equal laws applying to all in the same circumstances”.

Equal protection of law means that no impediment should be interposed to the pursuits by anyone except as applied to the same pursuits by others under the circumstances that no greater burden should be laid upon one than are laid upon others in the same calling and condition.  Equal protection of the laws has been incorporated to mean subjection to equal laws applying to all in the same circumstances. This principle, it is submitted is palpably violated against the Christians in India as their religious institutions do not get any protection from the laws while it is extended to other religions like Hindus, Muslims, etc.   The deleterious effect of such discrimination is too obvious to be mentioned. The monies of the Christians which they have contributed after strenuous efforts to religious institutions are squandered without question by those in charge of the affairs leading to malpractices, manipulation of funds and even defrauding. This puts the entire Christian community into serious disadvantage as the hard earned money contributed by them willingly to their religious institutions are squandered by selfish persons, without any accountability or answerability to the community as a whole.  This clearly infracts Article 14 of the Constitution of India as when it is shown that the Christian community has been excluded for number of years, the onus is put to the State to justify such exclusion, as has been declared by the US Supreme Court in (1947)332 US 463.Similarly this Hon’ble Court has taken the view that the exclusion of Muslim community from the Uniform Civil Code is itself discriminatory in the decision reported in 2017 (1) KLT 300. The petitioners therefore, respectfully submit that the non-inclusion of the Christian Indians in any legislation touching upon their religious properties, churches, the immense wealth possessed by the community by any legislation is itself discriminatory and violative of the principle of equal protection of laws by the State.  For that reason the State action or inaction is liable to be declared unconstitutional and proper directions issued.

B. While it may be conceded that this Hon’ble Court may not issue any writ for legislation, absence of a legislation can always be the subject matter of scrutiny by this Hon’ble Court on well settled legal principles.  Recently the Supreme Court of India had examined the discrimination by exclusion in the decision reported in 2019 (8) SCC 416. The Court had examined the various decisions on the point and though it found in the particular case that exclusion is not discriminatory, it had evolved certain principles regarding exclusion of similarly placed persons from legislation or the absence of it and had declared the unconstitutionality of the same.  It is therefore, submitted that excluding the Christian community alone from the benefit of legislation in regard to their properties is liable to be declared unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

C. Article 25 of the Constitution of India provides religious freedom. It includes freedom to manage the properties of a particular religious community.  Undoubtedly the Christian Indians throughout India have amassed huge wealth in the form of Churches, hospitals, educational institutions and institutions of religious nature.  There is no law governing their management. This is significantly absent only in the case of Christians.  While a Wakf property belonging to the Muslims is subject to legislation, similar properties belonging to Christians alone are left out.  This it is submitted violates Article 26 (d) of the Constitution of India. There is no reason or reasonable explanation forthcoming from the State for not regulating the properties and funds of the Christian community alone who are also the citizens of India and entitled to equal treatment in law and equal protection of laws.  It is therefore, submitted that the absence of regulation by the State on properties belonging to the Christian community is liable to be declared altogether unconstitutional and void. 

D. In the well-known VineetNarain and Others case reported in (1998) 1 SCC 226 the failure of the Central Bureau of Investigation to initiate investigation against politicians was held violative of right to equality. Even in the absence of appropriate legislation or orders, the Supreme Court held that ‘it can fill up the gaps for enforcement of fundamental rights and doing complete justice’. Suitable orders and directions were therefore, issued to State Governments as well to avoid inequality in the issue pointed out by the Supreme Court. Though legislative power, no doubt, is vested not in courts, the courts are sufficiently clothed with the powers of declaring inequality in certain areas and issuing appropriate directions to the State, which is mandated under Part III of the Constitution of India to avoid arbitrariness and inequalities.  This Hon’ble Court therefore, is empowered in exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue appropriate declarations of inequality and consequent directions to remedy the discrimination practised against the Christian community alone. 

E. There had been demands from a large section of the Christian community for legislation.  The Church Act, which is in the offing is drafted to meet the aforesaid demand. Unfortunately it has not been so far passed.  Following that there had been demands from different denominations of Christians for an enactment or statutory regulations raised from different platforms and forums.  The petitioners respectfully submit that the Memorandum submitted to the State calling their attention to the present state of affairs and seeking redressal of their grievances, is not responded till date.  The State has therefore, abandoned its duties in the matter. The petitioners in these circumstances are entitled to an appropriate writ from this Hon’ble Court since they are left with no other effective alternative remedy. The petitioners therefore, are praying for reliefs from this Hon’ble Court including appropriate interim orders.

       For the foregoing reasons the petitioners most humbly pray that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased:

  1. To declare that the absence of any regulatory measure either by way of statutory or otherwise by the State in regard to Christian religious institutions, properties, endowments etc is discriminatory and violative of Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.

  1. To issue a Writ of Mandamus commanding the State of Kerala to immediately take steps for the redressal of the above flagrant inequality which is violative of the constitutional mandates by taking such steps as are required in accordance with law.

  2. To issue such other writs, orders or directions as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.

INTERIM RELIEF

       For the reasons stated in the above Writ Petition and the affidavit filed in support thereof it is most humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to declare that the absence of any regulatory measure either by way of statutory or otherwise by the State in regard to Christian religious institutions, properties, endowments etc is discriminatory and violative of Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, pending disposal of the above Writ Petition.

Dated this the 5thday of November, 2019

PETITIONERS

Counsel for the Petitioners

BEFORE THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

W.P.(c) No. of 2019

Santhosh Thomas & Others: Petitioners

v.

State of Kerala & another : Respondents

A F F I D A V I T

I, Emmanuel Thomas Mathai K, aged 23 years, S/o Santhosh Thomas, Kandamchira, Erayilkadavu, Kottayam – 1, do hereby solemnly affirm and state as follows:-

1. I am the 4thpetitioner in the above Writ Petition and I know the facts of the case.  I am swearing to this affidavit on behalf of the other petitioners also.

2. The statement of facts contained in the above Writ Petition is true to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.  The questions of law are raised on the advice of my Counsel. I am advised to submit that I am entitled to all the reliefs as prayed for in the above Writ Petition.  The documents produced in the writ petition are the true copies of the original.

3. The petitioners havenot filed any petition seeking similar and identical reliefs in respect of the same subject matter. 

      It is therefore humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to grant all the reliefs as prayed for in the above writ petition.

       What is stated above are true.

       Dated this the 5thday of November, 2019 

                                                                         (Deponent) Solemnly affirmed and signed before me by the deponent who is personally known to me on this the 5thday of November, 2019 at Ernakulam.

ADVOCATE

BEFORE THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

W.P.(c) No. of 2019

 

Santhosh Thomas & Others                                 : Petitioners

v.

State of Kerala & another   : Respondents

S Y N O P S I S

This Writ Application raises a substantial question of law relating to classification by exclusion infracting both Articles 14 and 25 of the Constitution of India.  It is contended that the exclusion of a certain category of citizens from legislation is itself discriminatory, particularly when there is no determinative factor to so exclude thereby clearly violating the equality clause of the Constitution of India.  

The petitioners are Christian Indians by faith.They have been practicing Christianity from their birth being born in respectable Christian families. They however, have been noticing that unlike other religious communities there being no law regulating the properties and riches of Churches in respect of Christians alone, they are subjected to hostile discrimination and serious injury to the properties owned and controlled by the Church created wholly by contributions from among Christians.  Hence they have submitted Exhibit P1 representation to the Government of Kerala seeking immediate passing of a legislation in regard to the properties owned by Christian Indians and large number of Christian inhabitants in Kerala. Till date it has not received any response or attention from the State Government, though the issues highlighted there are substantial, serious and needing immediate attention. Hence this writ petition.

Dates and events:-

      1. Exhibit P1 representation submitted by the petitioners before the

Government.

Rules/Regulations/Statutes applicable in the case:-

Constitution of India.

Points urged:-       

  1. Whether the non-inclusion of the Christian Indians in any legislation touching upon their religious properties and churches, by any legislation is itself not discriminatory and violative of the principle of equal protection of laws by the State.

  2. Whether the exclusion of the Christian community alone from the benefit of legislation in regard to their properties is not liable to be declared unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

  3. Whether the absence of regulation by the State on properties belonging to the Christian community is not liable to be declared altogether unconstitutional and void. 

Dated this the 5thday ofNovember, 2019

COUNSEL FOR THE PETITIONERS

BEFORE THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

W.P.(c) No. of 2019

Santhosh Thomas & Others                                

: Petitioners

v.

State of Kerala & another   : Respondents

INDEX

 

Sl.No.

Particulars

Pages

1.

Synopsis

    A

2.

Writ Petition (Civil)

  1 – 

3.

Affidavit


 

4.

Exhibit P1–True copy of the representation dated            15.09.2019 submitted by the petitioners before the Government of Kerala.

 

5.

Exhibit P1(a)– True English translation of Exhibit P1 document.

 

Dated this the 5thday of November, 2019

COUNSEL FOR THE PETITIONERS

Presented on:-.11.2019

Sub: 

BEFORE THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

W.P. (C) No. of 2019

Santhosh Thomas & Others                                 : Petitioners

v.

State of Kerala & another   : Respondents

MEMORANDUM OF WRIT PETITION FILED UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE  CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

M/s RamprasadUnni T (R 290) (K 962/92)

S M Prasanth (P 296) (K957/94)

Renjith G (R 1320) (K410/09)

AswiniSankar R S (A 1578) (K333/13)

Aravind T H (A 1740) (K266/2017)

Advocates

M/S. K. RAMAKUMAR & ASSOCIATES

Counsel for the Petitioners

APPENDIX

Petitioner’s Exhibits:-

Exhibit P1–True copy of the representation dated            15.09.2019 submitted by the petitioners before the Government of Kerala. 

Exhibit P1(a)– True English translation of Exhibit P1 document.

BEFORE THE HONOURABLE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

DATA SHEET

PETITIONS  / PROCEEDINGS FILED UNDER ARTICLE  226, 227 OF CONSTITUTION OF INDIA AND CASE TYPE WITH NOMENCLATURE  WA, CONTEMPT CASE CIVIL, CONTEMPT CASE CRIMINAL, CONTEMPT APPEAL CIVIL  and RP's FILED AGAINST THE ABOVE SAID CASES.

CASE TYPE:

FILING NO:

(For Office use only)

 

CNR NO:

(For Office use only)

KLHC01

 

PETITIONER'S DETAILS

Name of First Petitioner / Organisation

Santhosh Thomas

Nationality

INDIAN

Age

58

Senior Citizen

Y                N

Sex

Male                 Female   Others

Mobile Number

9847367278 / 9447744917

Email ID

ramakumarassociates@gmail.com

No. of Extra Petitioner[s] 

NIL

DETAILS OF ADVOCATE / PARTY IN PERSON / REGISTERED CLERK

Name of Advocate / Party

RAMPRASAD UNNI T, ADVOCATE

Bar Council Registration Number

K/962/1992

Advocate Code

R 290, P 296, R1320, A1578, A  1740.

Whether represents any Firm? If yes, state Name of Firm

M/S. K. RAMAKUMAR & ASSOCIATES

Whether Senior Advocate engaged? If yes, 

state Name, Bar Council Regn. No. & Advocate Code

K. RAMAKUMAR, K110/59 & R 245

 

Y    YES                             N

If Yes, specify, Name &Regn. Number

K. R. RAJEEV, 90/1993

   

RESPONDENT'S DETAILS

Name of First Respondent / Organisation

State of Kerala

Age

 

Senior Citizen

Y                N

Sex

Male                 Female   Others

Number of Extra Respondent[s]

1

SUBJECT MATTER

a.

State the subject matter

[as per the current Roster]

.

b.

Main Act / Rules involved

 

c.

Whether the case involves offence against 

Women               Children Senior Citizen             Marginalised Sections of Society

SC/ST              Physically challenged                Mentally challenged 

 

LOWER COURT / TRIBUNAL DETAILS / ARISING OUT OF

Name of Court 


 

Case Number & Year

 

COPY SERVED DETAILS [If any]

          Details of copy served to the other parties. [Specify the rank]

A.G

ASGI

Standing Counsel

OTHERS

       
   

 

In the case of Writ Appeal state whether No Objection obtained for TODAY moving.

Y                                     N

OTHER DETAILS [If any]

State whether Victim Anonymity Case

[Vide Office Circular No. 3/2017 Dated 21.12.2017 ]

Y                                         N

If yes, specify the rank of the Victim

 

Specify whether case filed as [In urgently moved cases only]

Today      Tomorrow   Day After Tomorrow      Any Other Day[Please Specify the date] 

 

Place :Ernakulam
Date  : .11.2019 Signature of Advocate 

Form No. 1 A (Rule 19(6)

BEFORE THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA

Number of the Proceedings                : W.P. (Civil) No. of 2019

Name of the Parties filing 

Vakalath: Santhosh Thomas & Others

Telephone No. (Landline/mobile)         : 9447744917

Email ID                                            : Nil

Name of the Advocate                        : S.M. Prasanth

Telephone No.                                   : 9847367278

Email ID                                      : ramakumarassociates@gmail.com

                                                  Signature of the Advocate.      

English translation of Exhibit P1

Representation submitted before the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala by the undersigned members of various Christian denominations in Kerala.

Sir,

We the undersigned belong to various Christian denominations.  All the other religious communities of the land are having separate laws such as The Devaswom Board Act, The Wakf Act, The Gurudhwara Act and the like to administer the properties owned by them.

Moreover, the absence of a suitable law to administer the properties owned by the Churches, which are acquired from the members of Churches is denial of the right to equality assured by the Constitution of India to members of Christian community.

With regard to the administration of church properties acquired from the devotees there is a widespread corruption, nepotism, mismanagement and mal administration and in recent times it reached at its peak. This situation caused disturbance and annoyance to the general public in Kerala and also huge loss to the state exchequer. The “church Conflicts” and conflicts with regard to the administration of church properties is disturbing public peace and a threat to the peaceful atmosphere in the society. And also these conflicts even affect the cremation of dead bodies of Christian community members. These incidents lead to shame and abomination of Christian community in the public. 

Taking all these facts into consideration, the Government of Kerala deputed Hon’bleformer Supreme Court Judge Late V R Krishna Iyer to draft a bill for the administration of church properties in2009, which didn’t come to force due to political and religious reservations on Government.

In these circumstances, we request your goodself’s kind intervention in this regard for the enactment of a Law for the administration of the properties owned by the Christian Churches of Kerala.

Yours faithfully,

1 SanthoshKandamchira, Advocate, Kottayam – 1. Sd/-

2 Rev. Dr Valson Thampu, No.26, M G Nagar, 

Vazhayila Road, Peroorkada, 

Thiruvananthapuram – 695 005. Sd/-

3 Kennady  M George, Advocate, Manayanikkal,

Munnai, Pala. Sd/-

4 Emmanuel Thomas Mathai K, Advocate, Kandamchira,

Kottayam -1. Sd/-

Kottayam

15.09.2019.

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