Former bishop of Jalandhar charged in nun rape case2 min read

-Kumar Achintya

The additional session’s court in Kottayam in Kerala on Thursday framed charges against former Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal who has been accused by a nun of his congregation of raping her several times.
The judge read out charges against him including rape, criminal intimidation, and wrongful confinement and insulting the modesty of a woman but Mulakkal denied all charges. After formally framing charges the court posted the case for hearing on September 16 for the survivor’s examination.

Mulakkal, who surrendered before the court last week, was allowed to leave the state but was asked to appear before it as and when required.
He has been charged under various sections of IPC including 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 377 (Unnatural Sex), 376 (c) (a) sexual activity by an individual in authority 376(2) (k) (indulging in sexual activity by exhorting authority), and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Last week, the Bishop was granted bail by the Court with stringent conditions and directed him to be present on the dates of hearing of the case.

During the coronavirus lockdown, the number of rape and abuse cases has skyrocketed in certain places in the country which paints a very ugly picture for women safety in India. Christian priests have negated to speak on this issue of continuous molestation charges against the members and religious leaders of their community.

The Supreme Court had directed Mulakkal to face trial because it dismissed his plea seeking discharge within the rape case lodged against him by the nun belonging to a congregation under Jalandhar diocese, saying there was no merit in his petition.

Mulakkal, in his plea, had challenged the July 7 Kerala supreme court order, dismissing his discharge plea within the rape case filed by the nun.
The supreme court had asked the deposed Bishop of Jalandhar diocese to face for trial within the rape case. The senior priest of the Roman Catholic Church had filed the revision petition following the dismissal of his discharge plea by an attempt court in March this year. The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district.
In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual assault by the bishop during the amount between 2014 and 2016. The bishop was arrested by the Special Investigation Team.

On July 1, Mulakkal skipped a hearing at the Kottayam additional district court because his house was in a coronavirus containment zone. The public prosecutor then pointed out the area was not a containment zone and that it was a deliberate attempt to delay the case.
Later, Mulakkal approached the Supreme Court to clear the rape charges against him, but the petition was dismissed.

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