Kerala CM assures bishops that Church Act won’t be implemented

Thiruvananthapuram: For the second time in a week, Kerala’s ruling CPI-M said that the government has no plans to implement the Church Act, with now Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan making the assurance to a group of bishops from various Christian denominations who meet him on Wednesday.

The proposed Act aims to put in place a Devasom-like structure of administration over churches in the state and make heads of different churches accountable to the state government.

The draft act was put online by Law Reforms Commission chairman, Justice (retd) K.T. Thomas, a former Supreme Court judge, to solicit public opinion but sparked off protests from various Christian denominations.

Vijayan’s office on Wednesday issued a statement to the media which said that his government has no plans at all to implement the Act.

“This Commission before doing this never ever consulted with the Kerala government. We categorically wish to inform all concerned, this government has no plans to implement the Church Act at all,” it read.

During the previous LDF tenure (2006-11), the then Law Reforms Commission had come up with a similar Act but the government never acted upon it, it added.

On March 1, CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the media that the Left government was not going forward with the Act, a day after the Inter-Church Council got together near Kottayam to protest the proposed move.