Thursday, September 28, 2023

Supreme Court expresses concern over dispute between London Missionary Society and CSI group of Christians

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its concern over the altercation between two Christian communities – London Missionary Society (LMS) and the CSI group of Christians.

A Bench comprising of Justice KM Joseph, BV Nagarathna and Justice JB Pardiwala expressed their worry while hearing against a December 2021,Madras High Court order which dealt with the question of adverse possession of certain properties between LMS and CSI.

Justice Joseph while hearing, verbally remarked that the dispute in the present petition had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the founder of the faith.

He requested both the parties to refrain from fight and remember the min cause without bad naming anyone.

Justice Joseph reminded them of their faith which never teaches such things. He further said that the founder of Christianity never taught what they were doing . He called it shameful. The Justce said he also has been a representative of some of these parties and thus would only advise that parties should find a balance.

In 1800, the London missionary society was introduced in India for better holding of properties and was registered in 1922.

The South Indian United Church association was formed associating with the London mission society in 1908.

In 1947, the CSI was formed with the union of SIUC and other protestant denominations.The CSI decided that all members of the LMS are automatically converted to the CSI by the merger.

Now after about twenty years, the property that was held by LMS corporation as trustees was transferred to the CSI without any benefits to the LMS members while an original suit regarding the properties was pending before the Court.

A criminal proceeding was initiated later in the property, and the District Magistrate found the possession of the land with the LMS Christians of Kristucoil, Palliyadi.

The LMS’ possession in the property attained finality after a revision petition was filed before the High Court came to be dismissed.

Then another petition was filed before the High Court with regard to the property; it was ruled against the Palliyadi Church belonging to the LMS community.

As per the petitioner, the High Court should have looked into title deed which did not have CSI owner of property. IT should have not transferred property via a mere resolution. And, that the members of the LMS cannot be automatically converted to CSI based on an invalid merger.

The plea stated that the concept of automatic conversion of faith is erroneous.

It was also said that the Palliyadi church does not allow the interference from the CSI institution, nor does it follow any rites or supremacy of the CSI Bishop.

It is the church’s case that it is an independent congregational church and it did not join the CSI Union in 1947.

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