Pinarayi refutes charge that he was lenient on Church and harsh on Sabarimala

Pinarayi refutes charge that he was lenient on Church and harsh on Sabarimala
The Pandalam royal family had decided to approach the Union government seeking legislation to override the apex court ruling: File photo

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in the Assembly on Thursday that the state government had not handled the Sabarimala women's entry and the Piravom Church issue differently.

After the Supreme Court's stinging directive on July 2 to the Pinarayi government on its failure to enforce the order passed by it on July 3, 2017, the criticism that the LDF government had adopted double standards on religious matters was once again brought to the fore. was was once again brought to the fore.

The accusation was that while the government was determined to get the Supreme Court verdict in Sabarimala implemented, it was lenient with the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church that had lost its claim over 2000-odd parish churches including the one in Piravom.

Pinarayi Vijayan, however, begged to differ. "The state government's approach has always been based on the utmost respect for court orders. We had never taken a position opposed to this in the case of any verdict," the Chief Minister said, indirectly referring to its Sabarimala strategy.

On July 2, the Supreme Court had pulled up the state for not implementing its 2017 judgment on a protracted dispute between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankaar Church.

The Court seemed so livid that it said: "Tell your Chief Secretary that if he intends to go against the Supreme Court’s order, we will call everyone here. Is Kerala above rule of law? You are making a mockery of the justice delivery system."

However, the Chief Minister insisted that even in the church case the government was only trying to implement the court order in the most peaceful and consensual manner possible.

He said that even the Supreme Court in its 2017 verdict had said that if need be both the church factions could come together and in a spirit of consensus amend the 1934 constitution. (In its 2017 order, the apex court had upheld the 1934 constitution of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and dismissed the review petitions filed by the Jacobite faction.)

On the basis of this, Pinarayi Vijayan said that the government had held conciliatory talks with both the factions. "At times, to prevent violence and to establish law and order, even police action was resorted to," the Chief Minister said.

Pinarayi Vijayan did not refer to the latest Supreme Court diktat in the Assembly on Thursday but said that attempts were earlier made to initiate contempt proceedings against the government on the issue. "The apext court itself had then thrown it out," the Chief Minister said.

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