SC to hear anticipatory bail plea of Kerala priest accused of rape

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an anticipatory bail plea of one of the Malankara Orthodox Church priests who is on the run after facing charges of sexual abuse of a parishioner.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud posted Sony (Abraham) Varghese’s plea hearing for Tuesday.

Another accused, Father Jaice K. George — currently stationed in Delhi — will file a petition on Monday.

Varghese has challenged the order of the Kerala High Court which had denied three priests including him, anticipatory bail.

A woman, who regularly visited the Malankara Orthodox Church, has accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade. Her husband has complained that she was subjected to sexual overtures by five priests.

Initially, it was only one priest who first exploited the woman. When she sought help from another priest, he too threatened her and shared her contact with a fellow priest and she was eventually victimised by five of them.

One priest, however, escaped action as the victim mentioned only four names.

The National Commission for Women is monitoring the case.