With no advocate ready to represent her, sister Lucy Kalapurra became the first nun to argue her own case before the court. Kalapurra attended the virtual hearing at the Kerala High Court and argued her expulsion from the Franciscan Clarist Convent (FCC) in Karakkamala.
Challenging the congregation’s expulsion order, Kalapurra resolutely said: “I have served the congregation for more than 39 years and I have not done anything wrong. I have not led a life against the values of the Church. They cannot just throw me out. I have faith in the judicial system, so I decided to argue my case as party-in-person.”
Sister Lucy had been expelled from the convent after she levelled allegations of immorality against the Vicar and the Mother Superior of the Church. Despite her repeated requests that she be allowed to continue residing at the convent, the Court declined the same, saying that police protection can only be granted if she vacates the convent.
Sister Lucy also submitted before the Court that she had no place to go if she was forced to vacate the convent.
“I am a woman, a nun fighting for justice. It is important for my nunship that I continue to stay at this convent. I have been a nun for the past 39 years, do not throw me into the streets. I have nowhere else to go,” she argued.
When the court insisted that police protection may not be granted if she continued to stay at the convent, sister Kalapurra responded that the court may withdraw the protection if it deems fit, but may not ask her to vacate the convent. The petitioner said she had filed a case before a Munsiff court against the eviction notice issued against her and sought permission to stay till the disposal of her suit by the civil court.
Sister Lucy Kalapurra argues her own case before the Kerala HC
“This is my first time appearing before the Court. I had applied for police protection one year ago. The hearing for the same took place recently, and I was granted protection by the Court. There are currently proceedings going on to evict me from the convent. I am challenging this because it is unfair. In that regard, I have filed a complaint before the civil court in 2019 and I have an injunction order in my favour,” a report by Live Law quoted Kalappura as saying.
Sister Lucy Kalapurra came under the spotlight for openly protesting against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun. Earlier last month, the supreme appellate authority of the Catholic Church at the Vatican had rejected her appeal against expulsion from her congregation.
Kalapurra said her decision to represent herself came after her lawyer relinquished his role in a petition where she had sought police protection. She reached out to many advocates after the relinquishment, but none of them showed interest in representing her in the court.
Sister Lucy was dismissed from Church by the Vatican for writing poems, driving a car
Days after the dismissal of Sister Lucy Kalapura from the Franciscan Christ Congregation (FCC), an exclusive report by The Times of India revealed that she was removed by the Vatican over frivolous charges. Sister Lucy had supported the nun, who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal in a rape case. And this drew the ire of the Apostolica Signatura, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church.
The former nun had joined the FCC at the tender age of 17. According to the Church, she has committed a long list of ‘crimes.’ It includes buying a car and publishing poems without permission. Despite being served a summons for supposedly breaking her ‘vows’, Sister Lucy remained undeterred. In an act of defiance, she shed her nun’s habit for a salwar kurta. Pointing out the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, she said priests were allowed to wear normal attire, unlike the nuns.
The Vatican was also miffed after the former nun wrote a memoir, hinting at sexual abuse with the Church clergy. Sister Lucy had sought permission to buy a car but it was turned down. She however went ahead to purchase a white Alto and learnt driving from a woman, who ran a driving school. “Sisters travel day and night in hired cars with male drivers. Wouldn’t it be safer for nuns to drive?” Sister Lucy had argued.