Nun rape case: SC dismisses discharge plea of accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Mulakkal in his plea had challenged Kerala HC order dismissing his discharge plea

Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File Bishop Franco Mulakkal | File

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Bishop Franco Mulakkal to face trial as it dismissed his plea seeking discharge in the rape case lodged against him by a nun, saying that there is no merit in his petition. A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian told the counsel for the bishop that the court is not saying anything on merit but is dismissing the plea on the issue of discharge from the case.

Mulakkal, in his plea has challenged the Kerala High Court order of July 7, dismissing his discharge plea in the rape case filed by the nun. The Kerala High Court on July 7 rejected his petition seeking discharge in the case.        

The High Court had asked the deposed Bishop of Jalandhar diocese to stand for trial in the rape case, which was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a nun of same diocese in Kerala.

The high court had dismissed the plea by the bishop, admitting the prosecution argument that there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the rape case, which was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a nun of Jalandhar diocese.  

The senior priest of the Roman Catholic Church had filed the revision petition following the dismissal of his discharge plea by a trial court in March this year.

The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district. In his plea filed before the High Court, the accused priest argued that he was implicated after he questioned the financial dealings of the victim nun.

The bishop had filed the discharge plea in the trial court just ahead of commencement of the preliminary hearing on charges against him.

In her complaint to the police in June, 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the bishop during the period between 2014 and 2016.  

The bishop, who was arrested by the Special Investigation team, which probed the case, charged him with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.