- Against the backdrop of the sentencing of godman and convicted rapist Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, which is scheduled for Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court has brought up an old case involving self-styled godman Asaram Bapu.
- On Monday, the SC questioned the Gujarat government about the slow pace of trial in the rape case involving Asaram Bapu.
- The SC questioned why the alleged rape survivor has not been examined till now, and has asked the Gujarat government to file an affidavit in this regard
Expressing anguish over the delay, the SC also sought to know why the victim in the particular case had not been examined so far.
“Why this delay in the trial? Why haven’t you examined the victim yet? File an affidavit telling us the progress so far,” the SC said. Asaram is accused of rape charges and the trial is pending in Gandhinagar court.
The 76-year-old guru has been in a Rajasthan jail since August 2013 over allegations of raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl at his ashram earlier that year.
The Supreme Court is hearing Asaram Bapu’s request for bail. In arguments today, the Gujarat government said it was the so-called “godman” who was delaying the case.
Earlier in April, a bench comprising of the then Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul directed a Gujarat trial to expedite hearing in the case.
“The trial court is directed to expedite the examination of witnesses as expeditiously as may be practically possible,” the bench had said.
Appearing for the Gujarat government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had said 29 prosecution witnesses have already been examined and the statements of 46 witnesses are yet to be recorded.
The court had earlier rejected Asaram’s plea seeking bail on grounds of poor health. He is facing charges of rape and illegal confinement in two cases, one lodged in Rajasthan and other in Gujarat.
The apex court, while dismissing his bail plea on January 30, had observed that Asaram had placed a “fictitious document” to persuade the court to grant him bail and had ordered registration of an FIR against those responsible for preparing and filing the alleged fake papers. Asaram’s son Narayan Sai is also an accused in the case.
The apex court, while dismissing his bail plea on January 30, observed that Asaram had placed a “fictitious document” to persuade the court to grant him bail and ordered the registration of an FIR against those responsible for preparing and filing the alleged fake papers.
The Gujarat government had told the court that the rape case registered against Asaram would very likely proceed in an expeditious manner and the trial would be completed within six months.
The two Surat sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement, among other charges.
The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 when she was staying at his ashram near Ahmedabad.
In the case in Rajasthan, a teenager had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur.
The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.
The apex court had noted that trial in the matter was unnecessarily prolonged and the prosecution witnesses were being attacked, which led to the death of two witnesses.
It had said Asaram’s present medical condition is “not so serious” which requires him to be transferred to another jail or another hospital as, according to the Rajasthan government, he is being treated in a hospital in Jodhpur which has all the facilities to treat him for the ailment.
Asaram had sought bail on medical grounds, saying that as per medical reports, he was suffering from a prostate problem and needed medical treatment for the ailment.
His counsel had said that he was being treated at the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Jodhpur since 2014 and high standard of treatment facilities are available there.
The apex court, on November 18 last, sought the response of the Centre and five States on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the alleged murder of children and attacks on 10 witnesses in the Asaram rape cases.
Asaram was arrested by the Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then.
The Jodhpur Police arrested Asaram on August 3, 2013 and since then, he is in prison. A Surat-based woman has accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006. She said that she was victimised when she was living at the ashram located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
Read more at:http://indianexpress.com/article/india/asaram-bapu-case-supreme-court-questions-gujarat-government-for-slow-trial-4817092/