KOCHI: The synod of the Syro-Malabar Church has served a defamation notice on the office-bearers of the 'Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency' demanding Rs 1 crore each from them as compensation for the "damage to reputation" suffered on account of the Facebook posts and comments made on the affairs of the Church.
The notice said Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, having 40 lakh followers, "has high reputation, respectable character and is well known in the religious, social and cultural arena within India and abroad." The contents of the Facebook post, however, are completely defamatory and have caused damage to the reputation of the Church, Mar George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Church and other bishops, said the notice.
The notice identified the contents of five of the posts as examples of being defamatory by the synod of bishops. These posts described as "glaring cases of publishing false facts" were made with the intention of tarnishing the character and reputation and goodwill of the Church and the Major Archbishop before the public, it said. The leaders of AMT have been asked to submit a response within 14 days tendering a public apology or face legal action.
AMT convener Riju Kanjookkaran, one of the recipients of the defamation notice, said AMT had raised its voice for "justice" of the laity. The synod was serving a notice on lay people for defamation for the first time. Sahiju Antony, another convenor of the AMT, has also been served with the notice.
According to Mr. Kanjookkaran, the law should take its course. He ridiculed the Major Archbishop, a person supposed to function under the Canon Law, for taking refuge in the civil law.