A humble plea that appeared in LAITYTUDE - the voice of Mumbai Laity
I am writing this out of a sense of disappointment, frustration and anger at the Catholic Church in Mumbai and hoping that someone here will be able to help me.I require the record of death of my ancestor who died in 1934 in Lower Parel, Mumbai. The only place where the death has been recorded is the register of Holy Cross Church, Lower Parel. There are no municipal records of her death. We need the certificate urgently to settle some property issues.
The Church authorities, (right upto the Cardinal) are refusing to share the details with us, or even provide a photocopy of the page. incidentally, the records in the book are incomplete (only 30-odd deaths have been recorded for the diocese in 1934!) but fortunately we were able to see our name when the peon there allowed my Dad to glance at the book… probably pitying him for his age and the trouble that he had taken to get there on his own all the way from Goa, just for this.
The reason being cited is that the certificate has no name. Yes, that is indeed the case! but it is entirely the fault of the Church and not in our hands. Moreover, the ‘Mother of’ section, year and other details correspond with the rest of our family records.
Given that in 1934 the church was legally a death-registering body, can we demand the same via an RTI?
Thank you in advance for your time and help.