The case filed in the Supreme Court by two Christian priests seeking anticipatory bail in what has come to be known as the Kerala Church sex scandal will be heard in camera.
The matter was mentioned this morning by counsel for the appellant-accused, who requested that the proceedings be held in camera,considering the nature of the case. The request was allowed.
The matter will be heard at 12.30 pm by a Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
The case is an appeal against a Kerala High Court order which had denied anticipatory bail to the accused.
Senior Advocates R Basant and Bechu Kurian, and Advocate A Karthik appeared for the appellant-accused.
The accused priests, belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, have been accused of offences punishable under Sections 376, 354, 354A, 506(i) of the Indian Penal Code.
The husband of the victim had approached the Bishop of the Marthomma Church and submitted a complaint wherein allegations of gross sexual impropriety were alleged against a number of priests of the Church.
After the matter was leaked to the media, a political leader brought it to the attention of the State Police Chief. Following a preliminary inquiry, a report submitted to the State Police Chief found that a cognizable offence was made out, warranting the registration of a crime.
In terms of the directions issued by the Supreme Court, the victim was produced before the Magistrate and her statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC. In the said statement, the victim submitted that she had been blackmailed into having sexual relations with the accused priests.
To the contrary, the accused has contended that it is only the husband’s version that the survivor was raped. Further, it has been contended that assuming without accepting that the allegations are true, no case of rape is made out since the sexual relationship was consensual.
Update: The Court reserved its verdict after the in-camera hearing. Senior Advocates R Basant and Thomas P Joseph and advocates A Karthik and Resmitha R Chandran appeared for the appellant-accused. Senior Counsel V Giri represented the State of Kerala.
The Court told that the verdict will be pronounced soon. The interim protection from arrest which was granted to the accused will continue till the pronouncement of the verdict.