Lawstreet Journal

Petition filed in Supreme Court against 'mandatory' confession practice in Kerala church

Lawstreet Journal 16 Dec 2020 8:38pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary Petition filed in Supreme Court against 'mandatory' confession practice in Kerala church

The Supreme Court on 14th December 2020 issued notice on a petition challenging the alleged practice of mandatory and forced confessions in Kerala’s Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

Three petitioners have claimed the practice violates a citizen's right to privacy and has also led to parishioners being blackmailed and/or sexually exploited. 

The petitioners, Mathew Mathachan and CV Jose, argued that the practice of undergoing “sacramental confession” before a priest affects human dignity and liberty of thought. They said believers have been forced to not speak against it out of fear of removal from parish membership and ostracisation.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde had first asked advocate Sanjay Parekh to approach the High Court. However, Parekh cited Supreme Court’s September 2019 order after the KS Varghese case, prohibiting all civil courts and High Courts in Kerala from passing any judgement in violation of the mandate.

The petition raised the question of whether mandatory sacramental confession before priests violates Articles 21 (personal liberty) and 25 (freedom of religion) of the Constitution.

Mathachan and Jose said that forced and compulsory confessions from men and women have led to severe problems, including the exploitation of women and blackmailing.

The petition sought the revocation of clauses 7 and 8 in The Constitution of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, 1934 that made confession mandatory to participate in parish’s general body meetings.

Clause 7 reads as: All men who confess and receive Holy Qurbana at least once a year, and who have completed the age of twenty one years may the members of the Parish… Continue Reading...


Tagged: Supreme Court of India  
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