Kochi: Major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese cardinal George Alencherry has submitted before the High Court that the allegation of breach of trust in the controversial land deal will not stand legal scrutiny as the assets of the church are not public property and that he has the right to sell land that belonged to the archdiocese.
Mar Alencherry made the submission on a petition filed by Shine Varghese from Cherthala who moved the court saying the Ernakulam Central police declined to register a case based on his complaint of breach of trust by the cardinal.
In response to a query by the court as to how the archbishop can sell the properties owned by the church or whether he can treat church assets as his own, the cardinal’s counsel said that the church is not a trust. “The topic has no public interest and no third party can intervene in it even if the church suffered losses in the land transaction,” counsel said. The court, however, observed that a detailed assessment is required regarding the ownership of church properties, and postponed the case to Thursday.
According to the petitioner, the police did not even give him a receipt though he lodged a complaint with it alleging conspiracy and breach of trust by the cardinal. He also alleged that the city police commissioner said that police will register no case regarding the church land transaction. Meanwhile, representatives of Arch-Diocesan Movement for Transparency (AMT) have criticised the cardinal’s statement. “As per the archbishop’s statement, he has the complete right over the church properties, amassed through the hard work of the laity,” said Reju Kanjookaran of AMT. “Strong protests will be launched against his move to misuse the assets. Mar Alencherry took a negative approach when we met him seeking details of the statement.” A meeting of the laity will be organised at Chambakkara in Ernakulam on February 25 to discuss the agitation programmes, he said. Mar Alencherry took a negative approach when we met him seeking details of the statement.” A meeting of the laity will be organised at Chambakkara in Ernakulam on February 25 to discuss the agitation programmes, he said....