Catholic Priest, Nun in Madhya Pradesh Get Jail Sentence for Ignoring Court Order

Published 18 January 2018  |  
ucanews.com
Catholics pray at the annual feast of Christ the King in New Delhi. Christian leaders say their people are repeatedly accused of breaking the law, particularly in states like Madhya Pradesh.

A Catholic priest and a nun in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, got a jail sentence and a Rs. 10 lakh suit slap after they failed to reinstate two students their school expelled two years ago.

According to the court order on Jan. 6, the accused, Fr Sebastian Mullamangalam, the then manager of St Paul Convent School, and school Principal Sr Archana, are also demanded to pay legal compensation to the state of 2 lakh.

However, the convicts have a chance to appeal against the order in a higher court within a month's time. Failing which, they will have to accept the sentence.

The two were accused of "illegally" rusticated three students from the primary section at the end of academic year 2015, mentioning "anti-institutional, disturbing and disrespectful activities by the parents" in the transfer certificates.

The parents were "continuously harassing the school by leveling false allegations against it" such as financial exploitation of students, the school's counsel, Arun Kannan, told ucanews.com.

The parents raised complaints over the school's administration through the district child welfare committee, which supported the students. In a state where the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power for the last 15 years, it shouldn't surprise the Christian school for not finding any favor.

When appealed against the parents in a court, the school was asked to reinstate the students in April 2016, saying they cannot be punished for their parents' behavior.

However, one of the parents, Devendra Maheshwari, whose son and daughter were among the three expelled, appealed in the district court accusing the school authorities for defying the court order and pressed for the maximum punishment.

The church authorities under Ujjain Diocese sacked the accused priest and nun from the school and appointed new officials but maintained they committed no offence.

The two will now appeal in a higher court as they believe they have a strong case and hope to be freed from all charges.

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