SC declines plea for anticipatory bail by two Kerala priests

New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Monday declined a request for anticipatory bail by two priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church facing charges of sexual abuse.

Declining the plea, the bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan directed both to surrender by August 13 and then move the trial court for regular bail.

Justice Sikri said: “This is not a fit case for anticipatory bail.”

The court directed the trial court to take up for hearing the plea for regular bail on the same day when it was moved.

In the last hearing on July 26, the top court had sought the status report of police investigation in the case.

The two priests moved the apex court seeking anticipatory bail.

Sony (Abraham) Varghese and Father Jaice K. George had approached the court challenging the order of the Kerala High Court which had denied anticipatory bail to three priests, including them.

A woman, who regularly visited the Malankara Orthodox Church, has accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade.

Initially, it was only one priest who first exploited the woman. When she sought help from another priest, he too threatened her and shared her contact with a fellow priest and she was eventually victimized by five of them.

One priest, however, escaped action as the victim mentioned only four names.