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  • Chev Adv. P.J Philip
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2007


      [A] There is a legally validManaging Committee for the Malankara Orthodox Churchapproved by the Supreme Court of India,

      [B] The said Managing Committee took itsdecisions in August 2002, deciding upon the holders ofthe posts of the various Diocesan Metropolitanship inthe Malankara Orthodox Church,

      [C] The result is that there is injunctiondecree against all those metropolitans and authoritiesunder them who are not recognized as above fromentering into, conducting religious services in theparish churches of the Malankara Orthodox Church. Inotherwords the injunction decree of the Division Benchof Kerala High Court will come into effect fromAugust, 2002, against defendants in OS 142 of 1974 ofKottayam Subordinate Judge's Court/ OS 81 of1977 of the First Additional District Court,Ernakulam/ OS No 4 of 1979 of Single Judge's Court of High Court of Kerala

      [D]This is the scope and effect of the status quodirected to be maintained till the decision of themanaging committee of the malankara Association in AIR1996 SC 3121 as follows, viz;

      Another controversy which wasraised before us relate to the appointments made on orafter January 1, 1971, up to the date of the judgementof this Court. It is submitted that in respect of someposts, appointments have been made by both the groups,with the result that in respect of certainoffices/posts, there is more than one claimant. Atthis juncture, it is not possible to give any specificdirections as to who among the two contenders is thelegitimate incumbent. It is accordingly directed thatthe status quo as on the date of the judgment shallcontinue until a new Managing Committee is elected.The said Managing Committee can decide the saiddispute, if and when necessary.[Paragraph 6 atpage No 3126 of AIR 1996 SC 3121].

      [E] The above direction was followed by furtherdirection in AIR 1997 SC 1037 as follows, viz;

      In Part II of the order datedMarch 25, 1996, the following sentence shall beinserted before the last sentence:

      The abovedirection is subject to the condition that any andevery person claiming to hold any office or post inthis Church shall be bound by and shall swearallegiance to the 1934, Constitution.

      [F] During this period a Suit with respect to thePothanicad Church was conducted by the Patriarch Groupof the Malankara church taking up the contention thatthe Supreme Court judgement and the 1934, Constitutionof the Malankara Church are not binding on the parishchurches. The Patriarch Group lost the said litigationat all levels from the trial court till the SupremeCourt of India. The result is that the said Church hasbeen lost and it is under the control of the OrthodoxChurch now.

      [G] A similar judgement was rendered in the suitrelating to Odakkaly Church of Angamaly Diocese by thetrial court.When Appeal was filed in the High Court ofKerala by the defendants therein /Patriarch Group, viz[1] His Grace Thomas Dionysius Metropolitan andpriests appointed by him, the Judge of High Courtrefused to allow status quo unless they swearallegiance to 1934, Constitution as directed by ApexCourt. If this were not done, the fate of PothanicadChurch would have repeated itself in Odakkaly Churchand other Churches also.

      [H] A leading lawyer of the Supreme Court of India wasengaged to argue the stay petition in the Appeal ofOdakkaly Church case= A S 117 OF 1998. As per thedesire of the Apex Court all the Appellants inclusiveof His Grace Thomas Mar Dionysius metropolitan [ AsHis Beatitude then was ] , filed affidavits swearingallegiance to 1934, Constitution subject to and inaccordance with the Supreme Court judgement. It wasthereafter that the order to maintain status quo wasdirected in the Odakkaly Church Appeal.

      [I] This resulted in continuance of Odakkaly Churchwith the then Patriarch Section of the MalankaraChurch. This practice was followed by all the thenmetropolitans of the Patriarch Group to see that theparish churches are not captured by the Catholicosfaction of the Malankara Church. These affidavitsfiled by the authorities of the Patriarch Group arepublic court records, copies of which can be obtainedby anyone.

      [J] It is pertinent to notice that the entireparishioners of the Piravom Valiapally and KattachiraChurch have filed affidavits swearing allegiance to1934, Constitution to see that new managing committeeand trustees are elected therein and members of thePatriarch Group get administration of those churches.

      [K] It is clear that the direction to maintain statusquo by the Apex Court was transitory to continue onlytill the new Managing Committee of the MalankaraAssociation takes decision as to the lawful incumbentof the offices/posts of the Church. This decision wastaken in August, 2002.. The result is that the reliefs asked for by the Plaintiff in the Suit/Appellant in the Civil Appeal before the Apex Courtstands allowed, vis-�-vis the defendants and thosewhom they represented in the suit. It is well settledthat all those who are reprented are considered asparties to a representative suit. Refer to AIR 1990 SC444.

      [L] By reason of the fact that the judgment of theApex Court is in a representative suit, all findingsand declarations therein are binding on all those whowere represented in the suit. All metropolitans whoare not approved by the managing committee areinjuncted from ordaining priests or deacons orperforming any other sacraments, service etc; for theMalankara Church or its institutions. The defendants 4onwards who are priests and their representatives areinjuncted from performing any religious service orsacraments whatsoever in or about any of the church ofMalankara and for the Malankara Church or itsconstituent churches or institutions.They are alsoprohibited from interfering in any manner with theadministration of the Malankara Church. Declarations[B] to [E] prayed for in the suit are also assumed tobe granted from August, 2002.

      [M] As far a declaration [A] is concerned, it may beseen that there are three parts to it. The first partis to declare that the Malankara Church is Episcopalin character. The Apex Court has categorically heldthat the Malankara Church is Episcopal to the extentthat it is declared in the 1934, Constitution.

      [N] The second part is to declare that the MalankaraChurch is not a union or federation of autonomouschurch units. The Division Bench granted thisdeclaration as prayed for but the Apex Court hasclearly disapproved it as can be seen from paragraph141, page No 2069,and the foot-note therein on theright hand column.The claim of the plaintiff in thesuit that each parish church is a constituent unit ofthe Malankara Church has not been granted by the ApexCourt. It is also found that the Catholicos, MalankaraMetropolitan, Diocesan Metropolitan does not have anytitle to or control over the properties held by theParish Churches. It is made clear that the power ofthe Malankara Metropolitan or the Metropolitans intemporal affairs is with respect to the CommonProperties [Samudayam Properties ] of the MalankaraChurch.

      [O] The third part of the first declaratory relief isthat Malankara Church is governed in itsadministration by the Constitution of the MalankaraChurch.In paragraph 141 of AIR 1995 SC 2001,at page2070 and paragraph 142 [8] at page 2071 it wasobserved that the 1934, Constitution governs theaffairs of the Parish Churches too insofar as itdoes.It is also declared as follows,

      If the plaintiff mean merelyspiritual control by saying Episcopal, probably theremay be no difficulty in holding that Catholicos andthe Malankara Metropolitan have spiritual control overthe Parish Churches, but if it means control over thetemporal affairs of, or title to or Control over theproperties of, the Parish Churches beyond what isprovided for in the Constitution, a declaration tothat effect can be obtained only after hearing and inthe presence of the concerned Parish Churches. It alsoappears that each of these ParishChurches/Associations has its own Constitution,whereunder the general body of the Parishes isdeclared to be the final authority in temporalmatters. All this is mentioned only to emphasise thatin the absence of Parish Churches and proper pleadingsand proof, no declaration touching the Parish Churchescan be granted in these suits.

      Contd:- Part 3
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