The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred till Thursday the hearing on anticipatory bail plea of Father Abraham Varghese in connection with the sex scandal case involving Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala.
A Bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan meanwhile directed that no action shall be taken against the two till Thursday.
The crime branch on July 2 registered a case against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of statements given by a woman belonging to the same Church accusing them of sexually assaulting her on many occasions. The Kerala high court high court had earlier dismissed their plea and ordered them to surrender forthwith.
Three priests- Fathers Job Mathew, Abraham Varghese and Jaise K George has been charged with sections for sexual abuse and threatening.
Earlier on July 11, the Kerala High Court rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of three of the priests — Abraham Varghese alias Sony, Job Mathew and Jaise K George, as it observed that they acted as "predators" and took "undue advantage" of her.
Dismissing their bail pleas, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan of the High Court had said “serious allegations had been raised against the accused. If anticipatory bail was granted at this stage, it would adversely affect the investigation, which was at a preliminary stage".
A woman who regularly visited the Malankara Orthodox Church had accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade. Her husband had complained that she came under the duress from at least five priests.
It was one priest in the beginning who first exploited his wife and then started blackmailing her.
When she sought help from another priest, he too threatened her and shared her contact with a fellow priest and she was eventually victimised by five of them.
The Kerala government ordered a crime branch probe, and the alleged crime was registered on July 2. The name of the fifth clergyman was not included in the FIR for want of substantial evidence.