SC asks cops not to arrest priests till July 19

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Kerala Police not to arrest two clergymen in connection with a sex scandal till July 19, when their anticipatory bail plea will be taken up for hearing.

A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was informed by the Kerala government that two of the accused have surrendered, while two are before the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

Senior advocate V Giri, appearing for the Kerala government, contended that it is a serious matter.

He further said the state government was opposing the plea for their anticipatory bail.

Senior advocate R Basant, appearing for Father Sony Verghese said that there is specific allegation of rape and his case cannot be clubbed with other accused in the case and should be separated.

The bench, however, said the issue requires proper consideration and will be taken up for hearing on July 19.

Father Sony Verghese and Father Jaise K George had earlier moved the apex court seeking anticipatory bail in the case after their plea was rejected by Kerala High Court on July 11.

Four priests of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church are accused of sexually abusing a 34-year-old married women by using her confessional statement.

The crime branch had on July 2 registered a case against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of statements given by the woman, who belongs to the same church, accusing them of sexually assaulting her on many occasions.

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