SC dismisses discharge plea filed by rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Protest by Kerala nuns (Courtesy : News Minute)

In a big setback for the rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed his petition seeking to clear rape charges against him. Bishop Franco, who is accused of raping a 44-year-old nun will now have to face trial in the rape case.

According to the reports, Bishop Franco Mulakkal had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to quash Kerala High Court’s order that had dismissed his discharge plea in the rape case. The Kerala High Court had ruled that the rape-accused Bishop must face trial in the case after the prosecution had argued that there was enough evidence against him.

“You don’t have a case and there is no merit in your petition,” said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde hearing Mulakkal’s petition.

Franco Mulakkal had moved Supreme Court after a trial court in Kottayam had cancelled his bail on grounds that he had failed to appear before the court several timings despite several warnings. On July 13, the Kottayam court had cancelled Mulakkal’s bail and had issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

However, Franco Mulakkal’s counsel had claimed that the accused had tested positive for coronavirus and hence was not able to appear before the court.

Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of raping a 44-year-old nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and subsequent sexual exploitations afterwards. The nun had registered a complaint in June 2018 and has also claimed that despite her complaints, the church took no action on the bishop.

Bishop Franco was granted bail in the nun rape case in 2018

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested by the police officials on September 21, 2019, after the investigating team finally found evidence that linked him in the sexual harassment case. The court had pointed out the availability of evidence to pursue the case.

However, the Kerala High Court later issued some directions to the rape accused before approving his bail plea. The court ordered the bishop to be present before the investigating officer once in two weeks.


Kerala : Kottayam court cancelled Bishop Franco’s bail, issues non-bailable warrant

July 14, 2020

A Trial Court in Kottayam, Kerala has cancelled the bail granted to disgraced Bishop Franco Mulakkal in connection with the Kuravalingad nun rape case.

The Trial court had issued a warning to the senior clergy of arrest and cancellation of bail after he failed to appear for the court proceedings for the 13th time on July 1, 2020 and had set a final date of appearance before court for July 13, 2020. However, the Christian padre did not turn up for the hearing yet again today.

The counsel representing Bishop Franco Mulakkal claimed that his client was stuck in a coronavirus containment zone in Punjab. But the special prosecutor deposed before the court that the Jalandhar Civil Lines, where the senior clergy lives, is not listed as a containment zone.

Admitting the argument of the prosecution, the court cancelled the bail of Bishop Franco Mulakkal and issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

Bishop Franco was granted bail in the nun rape case in 2018

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested by the police officials on September 21, 2019, after the investigating team finally found evidence that linked him in the sexual harassment case. The court had pointed out the availability of evidence to pursue the case.

However, the Kerala High Court later issued some directions to the rape accused before approving his bail plea. The court ordered the bishop to be present before the investigating officer once in two weeks. The rape accused bishop has also been asked to surrender his passport to the court.

Allegations of sexual harassment against Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, is accused of raping the nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and exploiting her sexually on several other occasions. The nun had registered a complaint in June 2018 and had been allegedly threatened by the accused for doing so. The Church congregation had also stood by the rape accused and referred to him as an “innocent soul”. Furthermore, Kerala MLA PC George had also called the alleged rape victim a ‘prostitute’.

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