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'You Can Walk Out of the Religion': Kerala HC Junks PIL Against Confession in Church

The petitioner told the court that the practice of 'compulsory' confession should be declared unconstitutional as it violates the right to privacy.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:August 2, 2018, 11:11 PM IST
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'You Can Walk Out of the Religion': Kerala HC Junks PIL Against Confession in Church
File image of Kerala High Court.
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala high court has dismissed a PIL that sought to declare compulsory confession unconstitutional on the grounds that it affects the right to privacy.

Joji George, the counsel for petitioner Chacko from Ernakulam, said the practice should be declared unconstitutional as it affected the right to privacy and “if someone did not turn up for confession, their other moral rights should not be affected”.

Dismissing the petition, the high court division bench observed that if a person did not like a particular practice, he had the right to walk out of the religion.

The practice of confession recently grabbed attention when National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma recommended that it be abolished as it led to blackmailing of women.

Sharma made the statement in the light of two complaints against priests and bishops — one involving four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church who allegedly raped a woman and the second accusing the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, of rape.

The NCW’s stand irked the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC), which sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Terming the statement “irresponsible”, KCBC president Dr Soosapakyam said, “A responsible commission must not hurt the feelings of followers of a particular religion. This is a violation of the constitutional rights under Article 25 as everyone has the right to practise their religion.”
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