Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that there was no need for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the rape charges levelled by a nun against the Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal at this juncture.
The court also observed that it was up to the police to decide whether the Jalandhar bishop should be arrested or not.
It's natural to take time to gather evidence. Those seeking the arrest of the accused should be patient, the court said.
The HC said there should be an independent probe and the rights of the accused should also have to be protected.
The evidence collected by the police are at a safe distance from the accused, the court said, adding that the complainant or the witnesses can seek its help if they faced any threat.
The court was considering a public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe into the sensational case. A division bench comprising the chief justice made the observations after examining the investigation report filed by the Kerala police. The case will be considered again on September 24.
The government told the court that a decision on the arrest of the bishop could be taken only after his interrogation. The investigation is progressing in five states. The complainant has been provided with all security. The state can interfere in case of an emergency, the government told the court.
Franco Mulakkal has been summoned to Kerala for questioning on September 19.
Announcing the decision to summon the clergyman after a meeting where the probe in the case was reviewed, Inspector General of police Vijay Sakhare on Wednesday said the delay in completing the investigation was due to "contradictions" in the statements given by the victim, the witnesses and the accused.
Sakhare said a decision on arresting the bishop could be taken only after corroborating the statements.
The protest by various Catholic Reform organisations and the nuns in Kochi seeking justice for the victim entered the sixth day on Thursday.
The complainant nun recently sought urgent intervention of the Vatican for justice and demanded the bishop's removal as the head of the Jalandhar diocese, questioning why the church was "closing its eyes to the truth" when she mustered courage to make public her suffering.
The nun had accused the clergyman of sexually assaulting her repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.
The bishop, however, dismissed the allegations as "baseless and concocted", insisting she levelled the charges as the Catholic order had rejected her demand for favours.