The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of Bishop Franco Mulakkal seeking discharge from the criminal trial in the nun-rape case.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun, said that there was no case for discharge.
Bishop Franco Mullakkal had approached the Supreme Court challenging the judgment of Kerala High Court rejecting his plea seeking to discharge him from the rape case.
In his Special Leave Petition filed through Advocate Anand Mishra, he repeats his contention he is innocent and that he was falsely implicated after he questioned the financial dealings of the victim nun.
The Bishop of Jalandhar diocese of Roman Catholic Church is accused of raping a nun on multiple occasions by abusing his dominant position. Allegations surfaced for the first time in July 2018 when a collective called "Save Our Sisters" launched public protests calling for the arrest of Franco. Later, the Special Investigation Team of Kerala police submitted the charge-sheet against him for offences punishable under Sections 342, 376 (2)(k) and (n), 377, and 506 (I) IPC.
In his discharge plea before the Trial Court, the priest argued that he was falsely implicated after he questioned the financial dealings of the victim nun. The Trial Court dismissed the plea.
Challenging the Trial Court order, he approached the High Court by filing a Revision Petition. The High Court, while dismissing his plea, observed that there are prima facie materials are available to show that the Sister was subjected to sexual assault including rape by him.
"It is not possible to infer that this Bishop/petitioner was falsely implicated by the Mother Superior of the Home functioning under him, on mere enmity as contended by him. The prosecution has produced the chronicle/ record maintained in the Home indicating his stay in the Home on the relevant dates during his visits.", Justice Shircy V. had observed in her judgment dismissing the Revision Petition