The Kerala Assembly has unanimously passed the Kerala Christian Cemeteries (Right to Burial of bodies) bill which seeks to settle the dispute between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara church on the burial of the dead in cemeteries in possession of the rival groups.
According to the bill, the faithful from the two factions will have the right to perform the last rites in cemeteries where their ancestors were buried.
The changes recommended by the opposition members and church heads in the bill has been incorporated to avoid misinterpretation of its provisions.
The Jacobite and Orthodox factions have been at loggerheads for long over the possession of church properties.
After the recent Supreme Court verdict, over 1,000 churches, hitherto held by the Jacobites, were ordered to be handed over to the Orthodox faction, which had insisted that the burial of bodies belonging to the Jacobite faction can be allowed in the cemetery provided their priest is permitted to conduct the last rites.
This was opposed by the Jacobites saying that burial rites of their faithful has to be conducted by their priest.
Recently, the family of a 91-year-old woman in Alappuzha had to wait for over a month to conduct her funeral, which had got delayed due to the factional feud.
The government had last month decided to take the ordinance route after all efforts to resolve the issue through discussions failed.
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