Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Archbishop M. Soosa Pakiam, Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil, Monsignor Eugine Periera and other priests discuss the church Bill issue with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. (Peethambaran Payyeri)
Thiruvananthapuram: The proposed Church Act that aims at controlling the churches' administration in the state will not be implemented. This assurance was given by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to a group of bishops from the three Catholic denominations who meet him on Wednesday.
The Bill had proposed to make the heads of different churches accountable to the state government.
The bishops who met the chief minister are Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, head of the Syro- Malankara Church, Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil, bishop of the Tharamasery diocese of Syro-Malabar Church, and Archbishop M. Soosa Pakiam of Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese of Latin Catholic Church.
Cardinal Cleemis later told reporters that they trusted the chief minister. However, they feared that the law commission would go ahead with the legislation, he said.
The chief minister said in a statement that his government has no plans to implement the Act. The law commission had not consulted the state government before going ahead with the Bill.
During the tenure of the previous LDF government from 2006 to 2011, the then Law Reforms Commission under Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer had come up with a similar Act. However, this government did not act on it, said the statement.
The controversies arose after retired Supreme Court judge, Justice K.T. Thomas, chairman of the Law Reforms Commission, put up the draft Bill on the website to solicit public opinion.
The Inter-Church Council, various Church denominations, including KCBC, had warned of dire consequences if any new law was brought to manage the temporal properties of the Kerala churches.