Church welcomes Supreme Court verdict on retreat centre

March 11th, 2008 - 10:17 pm ICT by admin  

Thrissur (Kerala), March 11 (IANS) The Catholic church in Kerala welcomed the Supreme Court judgment Tuesday quashing the Kerala High Court order that instituted an inquiry by a special investigation team (SIT) into the affairs of Divine Retreat Centre at Muringoor here. A Catholic congregation runs the retreat. The Supreme Court also stopped the investigations by the SIT.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) said the verdict is a victory of truth and justice and also recognition to the charities of the centre.

The Kerala High Court March 10, 2006 directed the government to constitute an SIT to probe allegations of sexual exploitation of women, violation of foreign exchange regulations and unnatural deaths at the centre.

The court acted on an anonymous letter on the affairs of the centre. In Sept 2006 the SIT inspected the retreat, triggering protests by church authorities.

“The Supreme Court said that no investigation can be ordered by the high court based on an anonymous letter and that investigation is the field of police and court can’t interfere in it,” Romi Chacko, counsel for the retreat, told IANS.

Welcoming the verdict, centre’s director George Panakkal, a catholic priest, said: “It is proved that all the allegations against the centre were false.”

“A SIT headed by an inspector general and a large number of police officials probed for 22 months into the running of the centre. But they could not find anything against us. I consider the verdict as a God’s recognition of our work and also an encouragement from the highest court in the country,” he added.

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