Rape case against Asaram: Judge to pronounce verdict in Jodhpur jail
The Rajasthan High court on Tuesday directed the special SC/ST court in Jodhpur to pronounce its verdict in the rape case against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu in the jail premises. The court of special judge, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) will pronounce the judgment on April 25.
A division bench of Justice Gopal Krishna Vyas and Justice Ramchandra Singh Jhala also directed the police commissioner and district administration to make all necessary arrangements and ensure that “no inconvenience or hurdle” is created by Asaram’s followers.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by the Rajasthan government seeking direction to the special court to pronounce the judgment in the Jodhpur Central Jail premises, where Asaram is housed, to prevent any law and order problem.
‘We had moved the high court looking at the anticipated assembly of a large number of followers of Asaram,” additional advocate general (AAG) Shiv Kumar Vyas said
Allowing the appeal, the HC directed the jail superintendent and district administration to make all arrangements in the prison for pronouncement of the judgment. “It cannot be said that followers of Asaram will not create hurdle or unhealthy atmosphere, which may create not only hardship and inconvenience to the public, but also law and order problem,” the court observed
Asaram’s counsel Mahesh Bora and Sajjan Raj Surana contended that no “such express provision is in existence as per law” to allow a court to deliver verdict in jail. Surana said the conduct of police was “questionable” as they were “trying to create an atmosphere against Asaram”.
Vyas told the court that as per an intelligence report, thousands of followers of Asaram from different parts of the country were likely to gather in the court premises on April 25.
“There is serious apprehension that the daily activities of citizens and public peace of the city will be disturbed and the supporters may indulge in violence and create serious law and order problem, which may cause immense loss of property and human lives,” the AAG contended.
After hearing the arguments, the bench directed to deploy adequate police to maintain law and order in Jodhpur. “The police authorities will be at liberty to take appropriate action to restrict followers to near the Jodhpur Central jail strictly in accordance with law,” the bench said.
Earlier, the special SC/ST trial court had completed the final arguments in the case on April 7. The final arguments had stretched for over five months.
A minor girl had in August 2013 accused Asaram of rape at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram. Asaram was arrested on August 31, 2013 and sent to the Jodhpur central jail.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Gujarat. Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement, among other charges.
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