Kerala passes Right to Burial Bill to address disputes between Orthodox-Jacobite

The government has decided to accept the proposal as a policy decision at the Cabinet meeting held today.

The legislative assembly on Tuesday (February 11) put an end to the on-going issue of burial of people following the tiff between Orthodox and Jacobite Christian on funeral of parishioners.

The assembly unanimously passed the Kerala Christian (Malankara Orthodox- Jacobite) (Right to burial of bodies in cemeteries) Bill 2020, which will be applicable from January 7.

According to the earlier bill they did not clearly define which all denominations of Christianity would be covered. In the new bill the state assembly subject committee decided that the bill will be limited to only two factions Orthodox and Jacobite Christians.

However, the opposition warned against the bill and its repercussion that would follow.

Minister of law and parliamentary affairs, AK Balan, said, “There were recent incidents of delay in burial of bodies due to fight between the two Christian factions. Those incidents were a shame on Kerala’s culture. It can lead to social and religious conflicts in the state.”

The government introduced an ordinance that gave parishioners the right of funeral in the family vault in the first week of January. “The law is a continuation of the Supreme Court verdict and it should not be construed as the government is trying to torpedo the verdict,” said Balan.

The government intervened after the century-old feud between two factions led to delay in funerals at parishes under the possession of the Orthodox Church. The issue refused to die even after the Supreme Court directed Jacobites to hand over total control of their churches to the Orthodox faction on July 3, 2017.

(With inputs from agencies)

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