Bishop Franco Case: Why the Kottayam Court's Judgment Is Problematic
The Big StoryJanuary 19, 202200:28:33

Bishop Franco Case: Why the Kottayam Court's Judgment Is Problematic

More than three years after the Catholic Church was rocked by rape allegations, in a shock judgment on 14 January, the Additional District and Sessions Court in Kottayam acquitted ex-Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape charges filed against him by a nun.

In a 289-page verdict, Additional Sessions Judge G Gopakumar held the victim’s statement as “inconsistent” and that the “prosecution has failed to give proper explanation for the inconsistent version.”

However, the verdict saw some bizarre reasoning to arrive at this conclusion, from an inexplicable dismissal of important disclosures by the survivor to other nuns to calling the primary supporting witnesses in the case “unreliable.”

In her allegations, the survivor stated that the Bishop had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. However, what followed was a harrowing experience both inside and outside the court for the survivor and the nuns who came out in support of her.

And the way the trial took place – with multiple witnesses brought forward by the prosecution who supported the survivor's testimony, Kerala Police's thorough investigation in the case – the final verdict outraged not only women activists but also the legal community, given the several loopholes in the judgment.

In today’s episode, we are going to take a look at the judgment, the reasoning the court gives for acquitting Bishop Franco Mulakkal, and why it is problematic.

Vakasha Sachdev, The Quint’s Legal Editor 
Sister Lucy Kalappura

Host and Producer: Himmat Shaligram
Editor: Vakasha Sachdev

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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