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A Kerala High Court judge has received a death threat in a matter relating to a church that two factions are fighting over for possession.

Justice P B Suresh Kumar said this while taking serious note of the state government’s failure to comply with an order of the High Court which itself was a result of a directive of the Supreme Court.  The judge said that the threat was contained in an anonymous letter he received which threatened that he will be burnt alive.  The court had on January 9 pulled up the state government for not implementing its order given a month earlier that the Cheriyapalli in Kothamangalam of Ernakulam district be taken over. This was done after the state authorities failed to implement an apex court verdict of 2017 granting possession of the church to the Orthodox faction and dismissing the claims of the rival Jacobite faction.

Justice Suresh Kumar asked the Ernakulam district collector S Suhas to appear in person again on March 2 with a detailed report on steps taken to implement the Supreme Court order to take over the church. Attempts by the authorities to take over the place has been resisted by the rival faction. In an attempt by the administration to affix a takeover notice on the church wall was prevented by the Jacobites.

The church is at the centre of a dispute between the Jacobite and Orthodox faction of the Malankara church and the high court had directed the state authorities to implement a Supreme Court order of July 3, 2017 to hand over total control of the church to the Orthodox faction.

— India Legal Bureau

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