Kochi, June 8: In a landmark judgement, the Kerala High Court ordered on Wednesday that Christian priests and nuns have right to ancestral property and added that their vow of poverty does not deprive their rights.

The ruling was given after considering an appeal challenging a lower court’s ruling, the Times of India reported.

The court said, “To hold that one would suffer a ‘civil death’ and be deprived of his property on entering into the Holy Order would be a naked infringement of Article 300-A of the Constitution of India (right to property). Of course it is the volition of a Hindu ascetic or a Christian priest to relinquish his right over his personal property in favour of a Mutt or Monastery in a manner known to law. But there cannot be any automatic deprivation of property acquired by way of intestate or testamentary succession by the mere fact that one has entered into the religious order and renounced his worldly pleasures.”

The court said that there is absolutely no statutory prohibition for a Christian priest or nun in the matter of intestate or testamentary succession of property in his or her personal capacity.