Baseless case against Mother Teresa nuns falls apart

A court case prosecuting Missionaries of Charity – often called Mother Teresa nuns – has fallen apart for lack of evidence.

After alleging charges of “religious conversion” the prosecution admitted in Court there was no serious basis to proceed against them.

The case followed a police probe against the nuns in the Indian state of Gujarat last December. They were acting on a complaint alleging the girls in the nuns’ care were made to wear a cross around their necks and read a Bible kept in the storeroom.

The home the nuns run houses 48 girls, including 22 who are mentally and physically challenged.

Following the police “investigation” the nuns were charged with allegedly “hurting Hindu religious sentiments” and luring young girls to Christianity.

Baseless charges

When it came to fronting up in court, the prosecution could not justify the charges, so kept seeking adjournments.

On 23 February, the Court directed the prosecution to submit a written reply explaining the legal basis on which the case was registered against the nuns.

After admitting it had no grounds to charge the nuns under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003, the prosecution gave the Court a written undertaking that it would not pursue the case any further.

Despite this, the first information report written by police to set the investigation in motion has not been quashed.

Reputation restored

The prosecution’s undertaking means an end to the adverse publicity and unnecessary harassment the Mother Teresa nuns have been enduring.

Besides the publicity and harassment issues and the legal battle they were facing, access to the funds the nuns needed to support their charitable work was cut.

This was because in December the Indian federal government refused to renew the congregation’s license for receiving and utilising foreign funds, citing “adverse inputs” as the reason for this.

The federal government restored the licence with retrospective effect on 8 January.


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