Another property dispute has erupted between Amritsar Diocesan Trust Association, Anglican Church of India-Church of Indian, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (CIPBC) and the Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India (CNI), over a piece of property in Mahan Singh Gate area, with one of them approaching the Punjab chief minister for the protection of the site.
In a letter to the Parkash Singh Badal, Mahraj Masih, who claims to be the property in-charge, Amritsar Diocesan Trust Association, said the property situated at Mahan Singh Gate belonged to the Church of England before 1947. After that all the properties belonging to the Church of England were vested with Anglican Church of India, Diocese of Amritsar, through its managing committee, Amritsar Diocesan Trust Association, he claimed.
Mahraj Masih has alleged that another association, Church of North India, has been claiming rights over the property since 1970.
"They have been claiming that the property in question has merged with the CNI. They also approached the apex court in this regard, but the case was dismissed in 2013," he claimed in the letter. According to Masih, the high court has ordered a status quo in its orders dated May 2, 2013.
"In another order dated November 23, 1992, the court has held that the church property cannot be alienated without permission," he maintained. He alleged attempts on the part of some influential members of the community with attempts at usurping the property by constructing a community hall.
He said they had no right to do so as cases in this regard were pending before the court.
However, Right Reverend PK Samantharoy, bishop, Diocese of Amritsar, CNI, termed the claims of Mahraj Masih as lies. He said the case had been decided in favour of the Diocese of Amritsar, CNI.
He maintained that Mahraj Masih had been barred from interfering in the functioning of the trust headed by him as chairman and Sadrick Sohan Lal as secretary.
"The property is not being used to benefit any individual, but is being put to use for the welfare of the entire Christian community," he said.