The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Kerala government to furnish a status report by August 6, in the case of alleged rape and molestation by four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church.
It has also ordered a stay on the arrest of two accused priests viz. Father Jaise K George and Father Sony Varghese, till August 6.
This decision by the Supreme Court comes a day after the Kerala High Court granted bail to Father Job Mathew, one of the four priests accused in the rape case.
Another priest, Johnson V Mathew, an accused in the same case had secured bail on Monday.
The high court on Wednesday asked Job Mathew to surrender his passport, just as it had asked Johnson V. Mathew to do so.
Job Mathew was also asked to present himself before the probe officer once every week.
He was the first to be arrested in the case on July 12, by the Crime Branch police probing the case.
The Crime Branch of Kerala had initially charged four priests in connection with the case, including the two who have now secured bail. Father Sony (Abraham) Varghese and Father Jaice K George who moved the Supreme Court, have managed to get a stay order on their arrest till their petition is finally disposed.
While Johnson V Mathew has been charged with outraging the modesty of a woman, the other three have been charged with rape.
The victim had accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade, after which her husband filed the complaint. It was Fr Job Mathew in the beginning who first exploited her and then started blackmailing her.
When she sought help from another priest, he too, threatened her and shared her contact with a fellow priest and she was eventually exploited by five of them.
The National Commission for Women is monitoring the case. One of the priests escaped action as the victim mentioned only four names, according to the police.