The Kerala High Court on Thursday said it cannot order nun Lucy Kalappura to leave a convent in Wayanad but refused to provide her police protection to continue staying there, The New Indian Express reported.
However, the court said that the police should provide protection to Kalappura if she complains about threats to her life while staying somewhere else.
Kalappura, who was at the forefront of the protests against rape-accused former Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was expelled from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in 2019 for “violation of the vows of obedience and poverty”. The congregation had objected to her publishing a book, registering a car in her name and appearing on TV.
The nun had appealed to the Vatican three times to revoke her expulsion. Her final appeal was rejected in June. After this, Sister Ann Joseph, the mother superior of Franciscan Clarist Congregation, sent Kalappura a new notice to vacate the convent.
Kalappura filed a petition challenging her eviction in a civil court in 2019. This plea is still pending. She also approached the High Court, asking it to stop the convent authorities from interfering with her freedom within the premises, according to The New Indian Express.
On Thursday, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan of the Kerala High Court asked the civil court to expeditiously decide on the nun’s petition.
“I am of the view that in the interest of the justice, it would be appropriate for the Munsiff [the Mananthavady Munsiff court] to hear the application and take a decision expeditiously,” the judge said, according to The New Indian Express. “If either of the parties moves a petition along with the judgment of the High Court within a period of one week, the application shall be heard and disposed of within a further period of three weeks. The parties shall be bound by the order passed by the Munsiff.”
Taking note of the nun’s complaints about facing threats, the court said that footage from CCTV cameras in and around the convent should be preserved, PTI reported.
During a hearing in the case last week, Kalappura had urged the court not to throw her out on the street. “I am a woman, a nun fighting for justice,” she had said. “It is important for my nunship that I continue to stay at this convent. I have been a nun for the past 39 years, do not throw me into the streets. I have nowhere else to go.”
The Kerala High Court told the nun, who said she was being threatened by the convent authorities, that she could not have police protection while living in the convent.
“You have made serious allegations against the vicar in your petition,” Vijayaraghavan said. “You have admitted yourself that you are subjected to ill-treatment at the convent. This will only depreciate if you continue to stay at the convent any longer, especially since the court cannot grant you protection. It’s better to move out where I can grant you police protection.”