The Supreme Court on Tuesday postponed the hearing of anticipatory bail plea of two Malankara Orthodox Church priests who are facing sexual abuse charges against a parishioner.
A bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan scheduled the hearing slated for Tuesday to Thursday.
Father Sony (Abraham) Varghese and Father Jaice K George approached the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Kerala High Court which denied them anticipatory bail.
A woman who regularly visited the Malankara Orthodox Church has accused four priests of sexually abusing her for a decade. Her husband, however, has complained that she was subjected to sexual overtures by the five priests.
Initially, it was only one priest who allegedly made advances on the woman. She claims that when she sought help from another priest, he threatened her and shared her contact details with a fellow priest. Eventually, she was subjected to sexual abuse by four priests, she claimed in her statement to the police.
Two of the four accused priests are still on the run. The crime branch has been conducting searches at the residence of the accused and taking statements from their relatives, in an attempt to track them down.
In a scathing observation, while rejecting the bail plea, the high court had said, "It appears that the applicants have acted as predators and have taken undue advantage of the position of the survivor. From the version of the survivor it appears that accused have systematically abused her and are closely known to her family. The reasonable possibility of accused to obstruct justice, cannot be brushed aside."
(With inputs from IANS)