Kochi, Dec 3 : Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to take over the St Thomas Church at Kothamangalam in Eranakulam district.
The Court also said that the District Collector should initiate the necessary measures in this regard and that the police force could be deployed if needed. After the government takes control of the church which is popularly known as Marthoma Cheriyapalli, it should handover the place of worship to the Orthodox side when the situation is peaceful, the HC said.
However, the court has not stipulated the period on taking over the church by the government.
It suggested police protection can be given if needed after the church is handed over to the Orthodox side. Amid claims and counter-claims about conducting funeral, the court said that there should be no obstacles in this regard.
When the church is under the control of the government, the funeral rites have to be conducted by Thomas Paul Ramban, who is holding the charge of vicar of the Orthodox side. Meanwhile, devotees of the Jacobite church alleged that Ramban was not qualified to be the vicar as per the Church Constitution.
Responding to the charge, the High Court said that they could approach the local court in this regard.
The old dispute is over the right to own church property and conduct prayers. (UNI)