SC slams Kerala HC for tinkering with its order

New Delhi: Kerala is part of India and the courts there shall follow the top court’s directives, the Supreme Court has said, after it slammed the Kerala High Court for tinkering with its judgement on an issue connected with churches.

“It’s made clear to all concerned, more so to the courts, that in future the violation of judgment and order will be viewed seriously. Let similar matters, which are pending, be decided following aforesaid judgment and order. There can be no further litigation as the decision in representative suit is binding”, said an apex court Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.

The apex court asked the Kerala HC and all civil courts to refrain from passing any order against its 2017 decision stating that 1934 Malankara Church Constitution and guidelines would have to be followed in performing prayer services.

In 2017, the top court had passed an order on the issue of right to administer functions and conduct prayers in churches in a dispute between two factions.

“Let a copy of the order be circulated to all the courts in Kerala and authorities concerned by the Registrar General of the Kerala HC forthwith. Let the Registrar General submit a report to this court as to how much litigation is pending in the court as to aforesaid dispute in the various courts. Let the report be submitted within three months”, said the top court in its recent order.

In its previous order, the top court had said 1,100 parishes and the associated churches under the Malankara Church should be governed by the Orthodox faction as per those guidelines.

On September 6, lashing out at the HC, the Justice Mishra-headed Bench said, “Kerala being an Indian territory all concerned are bound to act accordingly. We have intended peace to come in church, but due to orders passed in contravention of law laid down by this court, the law can never be obeyed.”

The apex court set aside the HC’s interim order, which reckoned that the two rival factions of the Malankara Church could alternatively perform the prayer services at churches. The Bench wondered how the HC judge could pass the interim order contrary to the top court’s decision in 2017.

“The HC has no right to tinker with the judgment and order passed by this court, which is binding, and the judicial propriety has to be maintained at all costs. There is no scope for further litigation in the matter, which we have concluded”, observed the court in its recent order.