The Supreme Court on Friday said the allegations in the Kottiyoor sex scandal in Kerala, involving the rape of a minor by a Catholic priest which led to her giving birth, are “very serious.”

A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan made the observation while hearing a petition filed by two doctors and a hospital administrator, accused under the anti-child sex abuse law of covering up the crime, to stay the criminal trial scheduled to start soon. The victim gave birth at their hospital and was under their care. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 requires medical staff of hospital to report to the police when they come in contact with a child rape victim. Instead, the allegation against the three accused is that they tried to destroy evidence of the crime. The trio – Sister Tessy Jose, a gynaecologist; Hyder Ali, a paediatrician; and Sister Ancy Mathew of Christraj Hospital – had appealed against the decision of the Kerala High Court that a “full-fledged trial” is required in the case.

The three accused, represented by senior advocate R. Basant and advocates Raghenth Basant and Mithun Verghis, sought a stay of the trial until the apex court takes a call. However, the State of Kerala vehemently opposed the plea, urging the Bench to go through the facts of the case and how the biological father of the victim was framed in the crime. In fact, the allegation is that the biological father was asked to take responsibility for the crime. He later confessed to the police about the alleged involvement of the priest.

The accused argue in the petition that “there is no whisper in the final report (of the police) that the victim had informed them that she had been raped when she was a minor.”

Kerala govt opposes plea, citing that the victim’s father was framed in the crime

Accused term the allegations an ‘unfortunate situation.’

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