‘Don’t throw me out on streets’: Indian nun on her own in court

The News Minute

The ongoing dispute between expelled nun, Sr Lucy Kapalppura and her convent in Kerala, India, has moved to Kerala’s High Court.

The “canonical violations” leading to Kapalppura’s dismissal included her joining in a protest against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal despite being told not to by her religious superior.

Kapalppura has taken her case to the High Court hoping it would allow her to stay in the convent and grant her police protection till the case, which she had filed against her expulsion in the civil court in 2019, is over.

Kapalppura appeared in Court alone after her lawyer withdrew his authorisation to represent her.

She began her defence saying: “Sir, please understand that I have been a nun for 39 years. It is important for me to stay at the convent to continue my nunship. I am a nun. Do not throw me out on the street.”

The High Court refused to grant her protection as long as she is in the convent.

“You have yourself admitted that you’re ill-treated at the convent. So if you continue to stay at the convent any longer, it will be detrimental to you, and the Court cannot grant you protection. It’s better to move out where I can grant you police protection,” she was told. It has reserved its orders in the plea.

In response, the nun told the Court she had challenged her eviction earlier and the court had passed an injunction in her favour in 2019. As part of the order, she was asked to stay at the convent.

“Your choice of accommodation is not the concern here,” the bench replied. “I cannot continue the police protection to you if you stay at the convent [as] you are no longer a recognised member of the congregation…”

While she accepts the court can withdraw the police protection if it deem fit, Kapalppura told the Court she has nowhere else to go.

“It is true that the police protection was benefiting me, since I am not even treated as a human at the convent. It was the police that made my stay at the convent less troublesome. But, I am willing to accept if the Court wants to withdraw this protection,” she told the court.

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation took a series of disciplinary action following Kapalppura’s participation in the protests against the rape-accused bishop and extended her support to the nun.

In a recent letter to the expelled nun, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation Superior General said Kapalppura’s prolonged stay at the convent will be deemed a criminal trespass. The Congregation has refused to pay her benefits or money for the work she had undertaken during her time as a Congregation member. She is only entitled to the amount that she had given to FCC as patrimony (a share of inheritance), which was handed over at the time of joining the congregation.


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