A Division Bench of Kerala High Court on today recused itself from hearing the petition regarding the management of the Piravom St Mary’s Church. The bench headed by Justice K Harilal and Justice Annie John withdrew from the case, albeit without citing any reason. This is the fourth bench to withdraw from the case involving the dispute over the church.
On December 11, the first time the case came up for hearing, a division bench of the Kerala High Court, comprising Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice Devan Ramachandran, refused to hear the petition. This came after a petitioner pointed out that Justice Devan Ramachandran had earlier appeared as a lawyer in the dispute.
After this, the case came up for hearing before a bench led by Justice Chitambaresh and Justice Narayana Pisharadi. However, an advocate pointed out that Justice Chitambaresh, too, had appeared in the case, following which the bench recused from the case. When the Piravom church case came up for hearing the third time, the bench led by CK Abdul Raheem and TV Anilkumar, too, refused to hear the case for a similar reason.
The Piravom Church case relates to the ongoing feud between the Orthodox and Jacobite faction in the wake of the Supreme Court’s verdict on July 3, stating that 1,100 parishes and their churches under the Malankara Church should be controlled by the Orthodox faction, according to the 1934 Malankara Church guidelines. However, the Jacobite members of the St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral in Piravom, Ernakulam, refused to hand over the administration of the church to the Orthodox faction. Following this, the Orthodox faction had approached the Kerala High Court to implement the Supreme Court judgement.