NEW DELHI: The SC on Monday pulled up Gujarat government and questioned what it termed as a slow trial against spiritual leader Asaram Bapu, who has been in jail since 2013 for charges of rape.
“Why this delay in trial? Tell us why you haven’t examined the victim yet,” the court asked the Gujarat government, ordering it to submit a progress report.
It is worthwhile mentioning that Asaram has been in a Rajasthan jail since August 2013, regarding allegations of raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl at his ashram earlier that year. Pretty much straight after that he, along with his son Narayan Sai, were booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Gujarat’s Surat. The trial is pending in a court in Gandhinagar.
And that is where, the SC is hearing Asaram Bapu’s request for bail. His lawyer has argued that the rape survivor is yet to be questioned and his client had been in jail for more than four years.
Gujarat replied that it is the so-called “godman” who is delaying the trial.
Earlier this year, the court had asked the court in Gujarat to speed up recording of the evidence of the women and other witnesses.
According to the official sources, more than 40 witnesses are believed to have still not recorded their statements.
“Don’t linger it. This is what we want to say (to) you (Gujarat). Expedite the recording of evidence,” the judges said in April.
The Supreme Court had earlier refused to grant bail to Asaram Bapu on various grounds including his poor health.
In the time that Asaram Bapu and his son have been in jail, six witnesses have been attacked and two have died.
This case once again proof the kind of legal complications that are there in the Indian judicial system prevalent right now.