Church of South India diocese to challenge ruling on properties

By Anto Akkara
Posted Feb 3, 2012

[Ecumenical News International] A diocese of the Church of South India (CSI) is preparing an appeal against a court order that has virtually stripped it of more than half its churches and institutions, inherited from the Basel Mission church.

“We are preparing a strong appeal to get this order quashed. We are hopeful that our appeal will be upheld by the (federal) Supreme Court,” Bishop J.S. Sadananda of CSI’s Karnataka Southern Diocese told ENInews Feb. 3 in a telephone interview.

The high court of Karnataka on Jan. 23 had ruled that the CSI diocese can no longer manage 40 of its 80 churches as well as over two dozen schools, hospitals and other institutions, citing technicalities in the transfer of these properties from the United Basel Mission Church in India (UBMC).

The UBMC, based in the west coast of India, had not joined in 1947 the CSI union, which was formed from the merger of Anglican and Protestant churches and is one of the oldest church unions in the world. The UMBC merged with the CSI in 1968 and transferred its properties to the CSI in 1972.

Some of the Basel Mission church members who objected to the church union, Sadananda pointed out, challenged it in court. The legal dispute went all the way to the Supreme Court which in 1988 upheld validity of the “merger” of the Basel Mission and the CSI.

“The [present] high court verdict against us is based more on technicalities [of the transfer of properties]. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold [the appeal] as it has already approved the merger of the Basel Mission church with CSI,” Sadananda noted.

Despite the negative verdict, he said, the high court has given 90 days for the CSI diocese to appeal the verdict, after which the court would hand over the administration of churches and institutions in dispute to a government receiver.


Comments (4)

  1. Rev.G.T.Malekar says:

    I think Mr. J.S.Sadanda has not read the judgment copie of the high court as well Supreme court.
    The Supreme court never approved the merger of ubmc wioth csi it is false claim in high court also he and csi argued the same in contempt case and in present case too. Even after the judgment Mr.Sadanada singing the same song.In this judgment court never appointed the reciver it is directed to district Court mangalore appoint new trustees of ubmc. Mr. Sadananda cannot fool public.

  2. Johnson Benet says:

    It seems CSI has not learned its lesson. They are obviously scared of answering hundreds of people who have purchased properties/rights from them. How will they compensate them? The Hon’ble High Court has said that even a decree is not necessary to declare the regd. documents executed by CSITA as void and invalid. The Bishop is again playing with the words and committing contempt of Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court never stated in it’s decision that the merger is valid. It only stated that the resolution is valid but at the same time also stated that it is not implemented endorsing the pain taken by the Hon’ble High court in coming to the conclusion that the merger resolution is not implemented. He has already committed contempt of Court by forcibly taking physical possession of the UBMC Amanna Memorial Church at Haleyangadi through his henchmen, after pronouncement of the decision is Scheme suit.

  3. S. Satya Kumar (Hassan) says:

    I would like to bring some of the facts to the notice of readers and a warning at the end of my message. UBMC has been playing hide and seek right from the start, the congregation has been kept in the dark about some facts. The facts are…
    • As per Sec 15 of CSI contusion, it is clear that UBMC cannot join CSI.
    • Let’s go back to world war 1 to understand the scenario. UBMC is of German origin. When the British confiscated properties belonging to Germany the Germans left the country. The British government in 1935 handed over UBMC trust which is re registered with charity commission (Belgaum) named as UBMC trust society. As per the specifications of the trust deed the properties and the assets will continue to exist with the beneficiaries that is UBMC, the properties or assets cannot be transferred to any other trust . Also the trust cannot be liquidated.
    • In 1968 UBMC called for a general meeting of all UBMC pastors and declared that they have joined CSI, some of the pastors of UBMC opposed the idea, but this opposition was not taken into consideration, and a merger resolution was passed.
    • The opposition party from UBMC went to court, high court and finally supreme court that the merger resolution not valid.
    • In 1988 the supreme court passed the judgment that the merger resolution is valid, but there was no mention about the properties or institutions, the judgment simply meant that UBMC can worship/gather/meet together with CSI as they wish. However the court was silent when it came to properties or institutions belonging to UBMC.
    • Nov 2011, the UBMC (opposition party) has won in Hon High court, which is what Bishop J.S. Sadananda is talking about.
    • The drama created by UBMC (merger party) or shall we call them Ex UBMC, still continues till today with the help of few handful pastors, and they are deceiving the congregation.
    • They should stop all these nonsense and let CSI be CSI. UBMC which has udapi, mangalore & kasargoad, etc. let them function as UBMC.

    Warning: UBMC cannot join CSI or vice versa, according the CSI constitution of sec 15.

    Message to Bishop J.S. Sadananda

    Previous bishops have kept the congregation in the dark, but I would like to warn you that you cannot win the case no matter what, because of CSI constitution sec 15. Also the diocese has sold many properties under your administration, even though you do not have the rights to do so. This is blatant cheating and misappropriation of power, hence sooner or later you will face this in court.

    Hassan, Mysore, Mandya Chickmangalore and chamrajnagar, these congregations have the right to get together and can elect our own bishop, because you do not have the right to control us. This is in line with the judgment from the Hi-court.

    General Opinion
    Due to the havoc created among simple minded people (UBMC and CSI) there was a murder that happened in a family in Anandpura congregation. Due to the power madness of leaders from UBMC such terrible death took place, leaders who belong to these institutions at that time are answerable for such terrible death among us. Are we not called to be Christians who are supposed to be peace lovers and walking in the footsteps of Jesus?

    Suggestion to UBMC (Mangalore, Udapi, Kasrgoad & Madekeri)
    Since you have upheld the original UBMC ethos, also the Hon. High Court has also declared in your favor you can continue to work promote UBMC as usual.

    Any replies questions please contact :

  4. Christopher Sudhakar says:

    Dear Mr.Satya kumar thank you for your detailed information I hope and pray your opinion is independent
    The fact is almost 99% members of congregation either CSI or UBM do not have any idea about their history . This dispute is the game above our head without our knowledge and will we become the prey for the games of spiritual religion should be part of life and enhance the progress of its member but here valuable contribution of t he present generation and countless scarifies of missionaries are mistaken and misused by few people for their primary or secondary gain. church lost its sanctity theology is personalized and redefined for their personal need and acquisition of personal wealth or emphasizing their personal ethos . The protestant Christian society is mislead by creating fight and vengeance within so that our so called spiritual leaders can rule as they wish by keeping members at dark and directionless . ‘Yes brother they killed our GOD “and continue killing. I pray that my brothers and sisters can understand the filthy politics and come out of it, to build churches where there is clarity of spirituality and culture and also to understant the their spirutal ownershipis not only their rights but responsibilities too and to go back to the glorious days of contribuitng protestant christian community not as “Protesting community”

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