Indian bishop’s lawyer petitions court to dismiss rape charges

Global Sisters Report/National Catholic Reporter

January 29, 2020

by Saji Thomas

The lawyer for Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, India, filed an application in district court here on Jan. 25 to dismiss all charges against the prelate in the alleged rapes of a Catholic sister.

Mulakkal, however, did not appear in the district court in Kottayam in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

The bishop, accused of sexually assaulting the nun multiple times from 2014 to 2016, has repeatedly missed appearing in court since the case was filed in June 2018. His recent absence prompted social activists and supporters of the survivor to suggest he is indulging in delay tactics.

In his petition, Mulakkal, who is free on bail, asked the court to dismiss the charges without making him stand trial. C.S. Ajay, Mulakkal’s lawyer, argued that the charges in the case will not stand because they are based only on the statements of witnesses who have resentment against the bishop.

Ajay also stated that most witnesses against Mulakkal in the case do not have a good relationship with the church.

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