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Bishop Franco moves to SC for quashing charges in a nun rape case


Bishop Franco moves to SC for quashing charges in a nun rape case

"While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female,"

Rape is a huge issue that plagues the world today. It is a worldwide issue, and is not specific to any one country. Rape also can impact anyone at any time. It is not specific to any one neighborhood, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or financial status. Rapes continue to happen frequently, and yet many are not reported to the police. There are many stigmas that go along with rape, so it makes it difficult to come forward. Also, it is sometimes difficult to prove rape when there are no physical signs. The victim may also fear being further victimized through the investigative process, so the crime is not reported.

A disciplined society requires moral and ethical sexual relations. Decaying moral and ethical values, and an emphasis on extravagant lifestyles instead of sacrifice and noble work have had a detrimental impact. At present, some so-called leaders (across religions) are being found guilty of rape or running sex rackets. It has desecrated society and spurred others to commit crime. Bishops too have often failed to exercise their moral authority

Bishop Franco Mulakkal from Jalandhar has approached the Supreme Court seeking to clear rape charges against him, claiming that he has been falsely implicated after he questioned financial dealings of the victim.

The Bishop was accused of raping a nun several times between 2014 and 2016 in Kerala. The 43-year-old nun filed a complaint with Kottayam police in June 2018. The nun stated that she had to approach the police after church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints. She and other nuns living in the same hostel had repeatedly complained of intimidation and pressure from church authorities. Five nuns had been asked to join different convents across the country in a move to weaken their case against Mulakkal.

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Kerala Police arrested Mulakkal in September 2018 after several rounds of questioning. He was freed on bail after 40 days.

The chargesheet had listed 83 witnesses, including Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, three bishops, 11 priests, and many nuns against him. During the course of investigation, one of the witness, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who had testified against Mulakkal, was found dead in his room.

He filed a discharge plea in the trial court in Kottayam, seeking to clear charges against him, claiming that the rape survivor implicated him after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.

On July 1, Mulakkal skipped a hearing at the Kottayam additional district court on the grounds that his house was in a coronavirus containment zone. It was then pointed out by public prosecutor that the area was not a containment zone and that it was a deliberate attempt to delay the case.

Both the Kerala High Court and the trial court had dismissed Mulakkal's plea to clear the charges against him and directed him to face trial.Kerala High Court agreed by the with the prosecution that there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the rape case.

Hence Mulakkal has approached the Supreme Court seeking to clear rape charges against him.

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