Writ in SC seeks curbs on church confession

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a plea by members of the Malankara Syrian Church in Kerala seeking a declaration that forced confessions are unconstitutional by nature.

The petition said these confessions may involve sexual exploitation of parishioners.“Church is forcing the members to mandatorily confess and mandatorily make payment of monies/dues and the said practices indulged in by the church are of public nature, affecting human dignity and liberty of thought and that the believers have been forced to remain meek and quiet out of fear of removal from parish membership, social ostracisation, etc,” the petition said. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde issued notice to the Union government, Kerala government and the various churches.

The petition said “this pernicious practice of forced, compulsory and mandatory confession (not being voluntary) from every member, both men and women, is causing several other problems including sexual exploitation of women and blackmailing,” the petition, filed by Mathew T. Mathachan and two others, said.

The petition sought a judicial declaration that mandatory confession is a violation of the right to privacy, liberty and dignity of the parishioners.

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