CM Pinarayi Vijayan had said that every person has the right to be cremated in their family cemetery as per the ordinance.

Kerala Orthodox Church says it will challenge proposed ordinance on burial rights
news Law Thursday, January 02, 2020 - 08:46

The Orthodox faction of the Malankara Church on Wednesday said it would challenge the Kerala government's proposed ordinanace permitting conduct of burial rituals of Jacobite parishoners in their family cemetery at the churches now under the former's control if it goes against the spirit of Supreme Court verdict on possession of church properties.

The Jacobite faction, which lost its control over 1,000 churches after the 2017 apex court order, welcomed LDF government's move as a "brave decision" taken to ensure "a dignified burial" for bodies of their faithful in churches currently controlled by the Orthodox faction.

Reacting to the stae government's decision announced by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday, the Orthodox faction said if the ordinance was being brought to counter the Supreme Court verdict, that would be seen as a bid to "challenge" the legal system of the country.

"If the essence of the ordinance is against the spirit of the Supreme Court judgement, we will challenge it legally," Malankara Orthodox Church secretary Biju Oommen said in Kottayam. "We don't think that the government would come up with such a legislation," he added.

Senior Jacobite priest and church spokesperson Kuriakose Mor Theophilose said they were grateful to the Kerala government for its "brave decision" to bring in ordinance to ensure their faithful a "dignified burial".

"Bodies of our faithful were being denied a dignified burial after the apex court order. Our human rights and fundamental rights were being violated during this period. We hope that the Orthodox faction will cooperate and support this ordinance," he told PTI.

Senior priests of the Jacobite Syrian Church have accused the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of denying "a dignified burial" for bodies of their faithful in churches currently controlled by the latter following the Supreme Court order.

The state cabinet decided to take the ordinance route after all efforts to resolve the issue through discussions failed, Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Read: Kerala church feud: Govt to bring in ordinance for speedy burial of Jacobites

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