Chaganassery: The Inter Church Council, a joint forum of different Christian denominations has strongly demanded that the Government withdraw the Church Property Bill, recommended by the Law Reform Commission. They warned of agitation if the government decides to go ahead with the proposal of the Commission.
Interestingly, the Churches’ warning comes two days after CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, fearing a backlash from Christian churches, said that the government would not meddle in the affairs of the church.
The Church Property Bill was proposed by the Law Reform Commission, chaired by K. T. Thomas to make the administration of the Churches’ property and assets more transparent and to address disputes more effectively.
However, the Church Council fears that the bill will enable the government to take control over the huge assets of the Christian Churches spread across the State. Resisting the bill, the Council said that it is an encroachment upon their constitutional right to freedom of religion.
They said that there are proper, traditional and transparent methods to administer the church’s assets handed down through the centuries.
The Inter Church Council also demanded that political parties make their stand clear on the issue.
The Communist Party was quick to distance itself from the Law Reform Commission’s proposal. The State Secretary’s support to the Church is widely seen as their effort to woo the Christian community before the crucial Lok Sabha elections.
The Inter Church Council was attended by chiefs and representatives of the Catholic, Jacobite, Orthodox, Mar Thoma, and C. S. I. denominations of the Christian community.