Christians demand law to control Church properties

Yours truly, under the aegis of SILENT VOICE, has been pursuing with the hierarchy of Bombay Archdiocese, to bring in transparency, in Church Property matters.

Church Properties are clandestinely being disposed off, by parish authorities, bypassing all the regulations.

GREG

Christians are a mere 2.5 per cent of the country’s population.

Panaji:

Lay Christian leaders have alleged that the Church authorities control funds equivalent to the Indian Navy’s annual budget, demanding a law to govern Church properties.

“The Church is also the second largest employer after the government,” said Remy Denis, All India Catholic Union President.

He said that Christians are a mere 2.5 per cent of the country’s population but, the Church in India suffers from a case of plenty.

Eduardo Faleiro, a former Union minister and Goa NRI Commissioner, is among the growing number of Catholics who support a law to govern Church properties and a far greater degree of transparency in the way the Church manages its earthly assets.

“The Church is not a symbol of power but service, and democratic laws must apply to it equally. All religions must be kept on the same footing,” Faleiro said at a conference called to debate the matter of bringing Church properties under state laws.

The laws that govern Church properties in Goa were enacted during the Portuguese regime. The same laws have long since been repealed in Portugal, Faleiro said.

Almost all other religions in India have laws enacted to administer their properties, said K T Thomas, former Supreme Court judge.

Hindu temples are governed by laws specifically enacted for each trust and their accounts are subject to judicial review.

The Sikhs, one of the smallest religious groups in the country, have the Sikh Gurudwara Act. Muslim trust properties comes under the Wakf Act.

“I feel the opposition from the Christians is on account of a fear that a provision for judicial scrutiny is likely to expose the expenses and magnitude of wealth of the denomination,” Thomas said.

Thomas said there was a misplaced apprehension that the parliament, through legislation, would grab the properties of the churches.

No such law could be passed by parliament or state legislatures, he said. All religious denominations have the right to own and acquire properties, establish and maintain religious institutions.

“But, in matters of administration of your properties you have to abide by the law,” he said.

Source: Deccan Herald

 

Church Properties , Law , Goa 
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