Court intervenes in expelled Indian nun's defamation case

State court asks police not to investigate Sister Lucy Kalapura's complaint that a priest defamed her on social media
Court intervenes in expelled Indian nun's defamation case

Sister Lucy Kalapura has appealed to the Vatican against her dismissal from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. (Photo: IANS)

The case of an expelled nun continues to hit the headlines in Kerala as the state High Court restrained police from probing her defamation charges against a Catholic priest and five nuns.

The top court in the southern Indian state on Nov. 11 directed police not to investigate the petition of Sister Lucy Kalapura against Father Noble Thomas Parackal and five nuns.

Sister Kalapura, who was dismissed from her Franciscan Clarist Congregation in August, complained to police that Father Parackal, the spokesman for Mananthavady Diocese, joined five nuns to defame her through social media.

The priest moved the court against the complaint. The court accepted the priest's contention that the police have no authority to investigate defamation charges. However, the alleged victim can file a defamation suit in an appropriate court of law, it said.

The court, however, asked police to continue investigating other charges against the priest, such as harassment of a woman.

Father Parackal expressed happiness over the court's direction. "The court has accepted our plea and restrained the police," the priest told ucanews on Nov. 13.

Soon after her dismissal on Aug. 5, Sister Kalapura told media that she was harassed and locked up in her convent that functions under Mananthavady Diocese.

She complained to police that the priest and five nuns of her convent collaborated in obtaining CCTV footage of the nun and circulating it on social media with the deliberate intention of defaming her.

The footage showed the dismissed nun entering the convent with two male journalists through the back door. The nun alleged the footage meant to "defame and annihilate my reputation in society."

The priest said his intention was not to defame the nun but to "help people understand the truth" about the public complaints the nun had made against the Church.

"The intention was to tell people that she was not locked up inside the convent. Besides, the clip in no way had projected her in a bad light. There was never an intention to harass her or tarnish her image," Father Parackal said.

She told ucanews on Nov. 12 she will file a defamation suit in a lower court after consulting with her lawyers. "I will surely continue the fight," she said.

Sister Kalapura continues to live in the convent pending her appeal in the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

The nun maintains that her convent began to move against her after she supported the public demonstration of Missionaries of Jesus nuns in September 2018. The nuns sought the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, who was accused of raping a nun.

Bishop Mulakkal was arrested in September last year and was bailed. He is now facing charges of wrongful confinement, rape of a woman incapable of giving consent, causing grievous bodily harm during rape, unnatural offense and criminal intimidation.

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