Gujarat: Self-Styled Godman Asaram Challenges 10-Year Jail Term In High Court, Cities Illness & Legal Technicalities

Gujarat: Self-Styled Godman Asaram Challenges 10-Year Jail Term In High Court, Cities Illness & Legal Technicalities

Arguing on behalf of Asaram, his lawyers highlighted the godman's deteriorating health at the age of 85.

FPJ SURATUpdated: Friday, March 15, 2024, 11:03 PM IST
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Self-styled godman Asaram | PTI

Asaram, the controversial self-styled godman, has been embroiled in legal battles for over a decade since his incarceration on rape charges. Amidst a push to cancel the remainder of his sentence, Asaram has taken his case to the Gujarat High Court, contesting the judgment of the Gandhinagar Sessions Court. The matter was brought before the court of Judges A.S. Supehia and Vimal Vyas, where Asaram's legal representatives, Ashish Dagli and I.H. Syed, presented his case.

Lawyers highlight Asaram's deteriorating health

Arguing on behalf of Asaram, his lawyers highlighted the godman's deteriorating health at the age of 85. They emphasized that the complaint against him was registered 12 years after the alleged incident, complicating the availability of crucial evidence. They pointed out that the statement of a key witness, the cook, taken under CRPC 164, was now unverifiable as the witness had since passed away. Additionally, they asserted that the absence of forensic and medical reports after such a prolonged period rendered a fair trial impossible.

This legal maneuver comes in the wake of the Gujarat High Court's rejection of bail applications, including one filed by Narayan Sai, Asaram's son, seeking permission to meet his father in prison. Asaram has been serving his sentence in Rajasthan's Jodhpur jail since 2018, though the Rajasthan High Court has granted permission for him to undergo medical treatment in Mumbai under police supervision.

Asaram's legal troubles

Asaram's legal troubles stem from a rape case filed against him in 2013 in Surat, Gujarat. He was charged under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape, unnatural offenses, criminal intimidation, and conspiracy. The case was heard in the Sessions Court of Gandhinagar, culminating in a life sentence for Asaram last year.

In the courtroom, Asaram's defense reiterated that out of the seven accused in the case, only he was found guilty, while the remaining six were acquitted. The genesis of the case traces back to a complaint lodged by a girl from Surat, who alleged that she was raped by Asaram at his Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. The victim reported the incident to the DCP Zone 4 in Surat, subsequently transferred to the Chandkheda police station.

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