Mumbai church priests move HC to quash property case against them
Robinson Gonsalves, who stays near the church, had filed a complaint five years ago, claiming that priests were trying to usurp his ancestral property and had boycotted him.mumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2018 01:19 IST
Trustees of Bandra’s Mount Mary Basilica have moved the Bombay HC, seeking the quashing of a First Information Report (FIR) filed against them on the basis of a local resident’s complaint. The resident has accused them of trying to usurp his ancestral property.
Robinson Gonsalves, who stays near the church, had filed a complaint five years ago, claiming that priests were trying to usurp his ancestral property and had boycotted him. Gonsalves said the authorities at Mount Mary were trying to procure his land to build a wedding hall there.
Following this, an FIR was registered against Bishop John Rodrigues, Fr Michael Goveas and four others associated with the church last year, under the sections 447, 506 and certain sections of the Social Boycott Act.
However, the counsel of the Bishop said the church had purchased the land in 1972 through a registered conveyance deed and Gonsalves was trespassing on their property. “There is no substance in the complaint because the church does not boycott anyone and the land belongs to the church, which is why we have moved HC to quash the FIR,” said Joaquim Reis, senior counsel. Gonsalves alleged that he and his family are not allowed inside the church and he was not allowed to set up a stall at the Bandra fair in September.
“My child was humiliated and we were forced to remove him from the school because I wasn’t willing to withdraw the case. I visit the church every morning, but the bouncers there kick me and my family out. Now we have go to some other church,” Gonsalves said. “My family isn’t allowed to take communion there and my father wasn’t conferred confirmation as well.”
However, a senior officer from Bandra police station said social boycott was not applicable in this case because Gonsalves had earlier set up a stall at the fair. “The case is related to a property dispute between the trustees of Mount Mary and a devotee, wherein they have taken possession of the land. We have been asked to investigate,” he said.