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Priests and nuns have right to ancestral property: Kerala HC

Christian priests and nuns have proper to ancestral assets and denial of such proper would amount to a violation of constitutional proper to assets, the Kerala High Court has held.
The ruling by means of the excessive court assumes significance as a majority of Christian clergymen and nuns serving in numerous elements of India hail from Kerala. However, there has been no ruling by using the Supreme Court or the Kerala excessive courtroom to the factor.
An appeal (AS No. 460/2000) filed via Monsignor Xavier Chullickal alias CR Xavier of Thoppumpady in Kochi turned into taken into consideration by way of a department bench of the excessive court docket. The priest had challenged a primary sub court’s selection that he can not claim the right to ancestral belongings as he changed into ordained prior to execution of a will in his favor with the aid of his father.
Commenting at the alleged custom that monks or nuns can not maintain belongings when they enter into the Holy Order, the court said inside the judgment, “To maintain that one could suffer a ‘civil demise’ and be disadvantaged of his assets on moving into the Holy Order could be a naked infringement of Article three hundred-A (right to belongings)

Property-Management.jpg (2500×1169) of the Constitution of India. Of path, it’s miles the volition of a Hindu ascetic or a Christian priest to relinquish his proper over his private property in favor of a Mutt or Monastery in a way understand to law. But there cannot be any computerized deprivation of assets acquired by using a manner of intestate or testamentary succession by the mere reality that one has entered into the religious order and renounced his worldly pleasures.”


After referring to a 2006 choice (Bar Council of India vs Mary Tresa) of the high courtroom, in which it become held that a priest or nun may be a lawyer, the bench said if a clergyman can maintain a job, he will have proper to ancestral assets too. “We surprise how a clergyman or nun might suffer a civil loss of life for the cause of succession on my own whilst he/she may be very a great deal alive and able to accept a job on revenue or practice as a legal professional receiving expenses,” the judgment said.
Indian Succession Act of 1925 does no longer distinguish among a Christian and a Christian who’s a priest or a nun and phase 2(d) of the Act makes the law relevant to all Indian Christians, the court docket said. Canon Law is only a norm inner to the church and has ceased to be a customary law after its codification. Civil rights of parties can not be determined on the premise of Canon Law but it is governed via Indian Succession Act in terms of inheritance and succession, the courtroom stated even as relating to a 2001 Supreme Court selection (Rev. PMA Metropolitan vs. Moran Mar Marthoma) and the Kerala excessive courtroom’s judgment of 1994 (George Sebastian vs. Molly Joseph) and 2016 (Major Archbishop, Angamaly and Others vs. PA Latin Tharakan and Others).
“The Indian Succession Act, 1925 does not make any departure in the rely upon inheritance or succession to a Christian priest or nun whether or no longer he/she has taken a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience,” said the judgment.

Serlyn Shetty
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