Sr Lucy’s lawyer withdrew his authorisation to represent her, leaving the Kerala nun to plead her case on her own in the High Court.

Kerala nun Sister Lucy Kalappura
news Court Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 14:14

On July 14, Sister Lucy Kalappura, the nun from Kerala who protested against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, appeared in the Kerala High Court, alone. Her lawyer withdrew his authorisation to represent her, leaving the nun to argue her case on her own. “Sir, please understand that I have been a nun for 39 years. It is important for me to stay at the convent to continue my nunship,” Sister Lucy told the court, LiveLaw reported. “I am a nun. Do not throw me out on the street,” she added. 

Sr Lucy, the Kerala nun who has been expelled from her Catholic congregation in Wayanad for canonical violations, had moved the High Court seeking police protection following the recent order from the Vatican approving her expulsion from the convent in Wayanad. She had only sought the court to allow her to stay in the convent and grant her police protection till the case, which she had filed against her expulsion in the civil court in 2019, is over. 

The High Court, however, refused to grant her protection as long as she is in the convent, and asked her to move out. “You have yourself admitted that you’re ill-treated at the convent. So if you continue to stay at the convent any longer, it will be detrimental to you, and the Court cannot grant you protection. It’s better to move out where I can grant you police protection,” the bench observed, reserving its orders in the plea.  

The nun told the Kerala High Court that she had sought police protection earlier and now there are proceedings underway to evict her from the convent in Mananthavady in Wayanad. She added that she had challenged this eviction earlier and the court had passed an injunction in her favour in 2019. Sister Lucy said that as part of the order, she has been asked to stay at the convent. 

Hearing her plea, the Kerala High Court bench remarked that she cannot continue to stay at the convent if she is not a recognised member of the congregation. 

“Your choice of accommodation is not the concern here. All I am saying is that I cannot continue the police protection to you if you stay at the convent for the reason that you are no longer a recognised member of the congregation, that’s all,” the bench said. 

To this, Sister Lucy told the bench that the court can withdraw the police protection if it deem fit, but added that she does not have any other place to go, and has to stay at the convent.

“It is true that the police protection was benefiting me, since I am not even treated as a human at the convent. It was the police that made my stay at the convent less troublesome. But, I am willing to accept if the Court wants to withdraw this protection,” Sister Lucy told the court. 

The Kerala High Court then reserved orders on Sister Lucy's petition. 

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), which is part of the Catholic church, took a series of disciplinary action against Sr Lucy After she participated in the protests against the rape-accused bishop, Franco Mulakkal, and extended support to the surviving nun. The FCC moved to expel the nun from the convent in Mananthavady, citing violation of canonical laws by following certain lifestyles, including writing poems and learning how to drive, among others. According to the FCC, Sr Lucy was expelled because she failed to provide a satisfactory response.  

In a recent letter reminding Sr Lucy to vacate the convent, the FCC Superior General said that the congregation will deem her prolonged stay at the convent a criminal trespass. It must be noted that the congregation has refused to pay her benefits and the money for the work she had undertaken during her membership at FCC. She would only be entitled to the amount that she had given to FCC as patrimony (a share of inheritance), which was handed over at the time of joining the congregation. 

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