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Yet another bench of the Kerala High Court—the fourth so far—has withdrawn from hearing the Piravom Church dispute case. A bench led by Justice Harilal and Justice Annie George withdrew from the case  on Tuesday soon after the bench led by Justice C K Abdul Raheem and T V Anil Kumar had recused themselves from hearing the plea of the Jacobite faction.

The Jacobite faction had approached the High Court and the police for execution of the Supreme Court order that granted the rights of administration of the church to their faction. Last month, a division bench of the HC comprising of Justices PR Ramachandra Menon and Devan Ramachandran refused to hear a petition regarding the management of the church. The decision was taken following a petition that pointed out that Justice Devan Ramachandran had earlier appeared as a lawyer in the dispute regarding the administration of churches under the Malankara Church. Having appeared as a lawyer in the matter earlier, the petition appealed to legal precedent and principles of justice in stating that he must therefore recuse himself from hearing the case. Both the justices Devan Ramachandran and PR Ramachandra Menon decided not to hear the case.

The case was earlier listed in a division bench led by Justice Chidambaresh and Narayana Pisharodi. When it was pointed that Justice Chidambaresh had appeared in another church case, the second bench too recused from the case. Even before that, a bench led by Abdul Raheem and T V Anil Kumar had withdrawn from taking up the matter. The long wait and the suspense continue.

—India Legal Bureau

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