The Kerala HC is considering whether action should be initiated against leaders of the Jacobite faction of the Syrian Orthodox Church for contempt of court, as per a report by Mahir Haneef in The Times of India.
This comes after reports that in February, the Jacobite leaders had declared at Faith Declaration Meet and Patriarch Day celebrations held at Kaloor that they will not be surrendering any church to the Orthodox faction at any cost.
Referring to these news reports as well as a letter received by him, Justice B Kemal Pasha said in court that contempt of court action is required in this matter. The letter was subsequently put before the registrar general.
On November 15, 2017, while intervening for the fourth time in the century-old dispute, the Supreme Court had dismissed petitions filed by the Jacobite faction seeking a review of the courtâ€™s July 3 order giving the Orthodox group control over 1,100 parishes and churches.
Both the groups had been running the day-to-day affairs of the churches till the order came.
â€śWhere will we go and pray? This is severe injustice. We have no option but to go for further legal remedies. So we will approach the constitutional bench soon,â€ť Bishop Joseph Mar Gregorios, synod secretary of the Jacobite Church had said.
In July last year, the Supreme Court had held that the Orthodox faction has the right to conduct prayers and run the affairs at the Jacobite churches, as per the 1934 constitution of the Malankara church.
The Supreme Courtâ€™s two earlier verdicts in 1958 and 1995, had also gone against the Jacobite faction, which has among its ranks nearly 1.2 million followers. The Orthodox faction counts around 2.5 million members.
Going all the way back to 1912, the Jacobite-Orthodox dispute has led to violence and police action on many occasions in the past.