No bail to release Asaram on health grounds: SC

SansadTV Bureau

supreme_courtThe Supreme Court refused to grant bail on Monday to self-styled godman Asaram Bapu on health grounds in Jodhpur rape case as his medical condition was found to be stable.

After going through the report prepared by medical college at Jodhpur, the apex court said that there does not seem any urgency and he has been on medication for the last 15 months.

A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur, however, said that he can be allowed to get treatment for his ailment at appropriate hospital. It also said that he can be allowed to get out of jail only after the examination of critical witnesses in the case.

It asked the Rajasthan government to place names of critical witnesses on the next date of hearing on October 14.

The bench also objected to the plea of Asaram’s lawyer that he should be allowed to argue first on the age of the victim before the trial court as she is not a minor as claimed by the prosecution.

“It is non-issue whether she is a minor or not. You somehow want to obstruct the trial,” the bench said.

The apex court had on August 19 directed setting up of a board of doctors to medically examine 76-year Asaram.

It had on July 3 refused to entertain Asaram’s bail plea in a rape case lodged against him in Surat in Gujarat but agreed to hear his petition for bail in rape case filed in Jodhpur.

Charges have been framed against Asaram for rape, criminal conspiracy and other offences by a Jodhpur court in connection with alleged sexual exploitation of a minor girl in his ashram in Jodhpur.

District and Sessions Court retained all the charges slapped by the police except Section 26 of Juvenile Justice Act related to child labour against Asaram and his aides and co-accused Sanchita Gupta alias Shilpi and Sharad Chandra.

Charges have been framed under sections 342 (for wrongful confinement), 354A (sexual harassment), 370(4) (trafficking), 376(2)f (rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509/34 and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy).