Kottayam: The Additional Sessions Court here on Monday cancelled the bail granted to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun in Kerala, for failing to appear for the trial in the case and issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The Bishop was not present in the court during the hearing.
Mulakkal's counsel informed the court that his client could not appear as he had been in self-quarantine due to his primary contact with a COVID-19 infected person in Jalandhar in Punjab, where he is currently based.
Mulakkal is the former Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Catholic Church.
During the previous hearing on July 1 also he had failed to appear before the Court.
His counsel had then submitted that the priest could not appear as he was stuck in a COVID-19 containment zone at Jalandhar in Punjab.
However, the prosecution on Monday countered the claim by the accused, saying the place where he lived in Jalandhar was not a COVID-19 containment zone on July 1.
The special prosecutor, appearing on behalf of the police, informed the court that Mulakkal was lying and was simply attempting to delay the proceedings in the case.
The court cancelled his bail and posted the case to August 13.
The Kerala High Court on July 7 had dismissed a petition seeking to discharge Mulakkal from the sexual assault case filed against him by the nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus.
It had directed the deposed Bishop of Jalandhar diocese to stand for trial in the rape case, which was registered on a complaint filed by the nun of same diocese in Kerala.
The court dismissed the plea by the bishop, admitting the prosecution argument that there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the rape case.
The senior priest of the Roman Catholic Church had filed the revision petition following the dismissal of his discharge plea by the trial court in Kottayam in March this year.
The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district.
In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the Bishop several times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kottayam district in Kerala.
The 56-year-old was arrested following huge protests in Kerala and spent nearly 40 days in jail before he received bail.
The bishop, who was arrested by the special investigation team which probed the case, has been charged with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.
While he claims the charges are concocted, the rape victim and her colleagues in the order have stuck to their testimony.
There are also allegations that he, through the Church, was going about intimidating witnesses and applying pressure on others to change their testimonies.
This is the first time in India that rape charges have been framed against a Catholic Bishop.
(With inputs from PTI)