George Pulikuthiyil, member of the NGO Jananeethim and Brinelle D’Souza, founder of the NGO Voices against Sexual Abuse in the Church (VASAC) have both filed a petition in the Kerala High Court. The petition seeks the court’s permission to join the proceedings of the Kerala Church Sex Scandal case in which a former priest had raped a minor.
The trial court’s order in Robin Mathew v. State of Kerala had sentenced former priest Robin Mathew for a rigorous imprisonment period of 20 years. Earlier this month, the court had issued a notice for suspending the ex-vicar’s sentence to allow him to marry the victim and claim joint custody of the child.
The applicants have expressed the horror and shock caused on hearing of the offence and are against the norm of letting religious institutions or authorities exercise their power even in judicial matters. Whereas the convict has asserted his intense love for the victim in order to get a reduced sentence.
The influence of the priest over the victim’s family was also brought to light, using the victim and her family’s false depositions.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, (POSCO) was also cited in order to seek protection in the victim’s interest.