New Delhi, Jun 18 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today deferred hearing in the interim bail application of self-styled Godman Asaram Bapu to avail ayurvedic medical treatment in Uttarakhand, till the re-opening of Court after Summer vacation.
The matter was listed before the Bench led by Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice MR Shah.
When the hearing started, Justice Shah, taking stern objection, asked Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, “Last time, it was stated that you had personal difficulty. But then you appeared in the Calcutta High Court. So the High Court was more important than the Supreme Court. i take strong objection to take adjournment here. Priority must be given to the Supreme Court.”
Justice Shah then told Mr Luthra not to repeat this in future and asked him to proceed and argue in the merits of the case.
Mr Luthra informed the Bench that Asaram is seriously ill and is in the hospital. He prayed that the matter should be deferred for hearing to next week.
Senior Advocate Dr Manish Singhvi, appearing for the state of Rajasthan, said that this plea has become infructuous because Asaram is hospitalised and his health condition has become serious, therefore, he cannot be shifted to Uttarakhand now.
Mr Singhvi further submitted that the Supreme Court has issued a notice in this plea to find out if Asaram can be transferred to Uttarakhand for Ayurveda treatment. But now that he is critically ill, this matter has become infructuous. If the Spiritual Guru has a fresh cause of concern, he can raise it in the High Court.
Mr Luthra requested the Court to adjourn the matter and list it after the vacation, which the Bench readily accepted.
On June 4, the Supreme Court had issued notice on a petition filed by convicted godman Asaram Bapu challenging a Rajasthan High Court order dismissing his plea for temporary suspension of sentence to avail ayurvedic medical treatment.
The state of Rajasthan had filed its reply against the plea of Asaram on June 7. It said that Asaram, under the garb of medical treatment, desired to get his sentence suspended.
He has made two attempts of this kind earlier also in 2014 and 2016 and during both previous times, the apex court had created a committee of Doctors, which had found that Asaram’s heath condition is stable and was not as critical that it would require any surgical management of the disease.
“Asaram has made third attempt to get his sentence suspended, under the garb of medical treatment. In the previous round of petitions, the accused had prayed for immediate medical surgery of his ailment, through allopathic method, which failed and now through present petition, he has raised his concern to get his treatment from Ayurveda.
“Asaram has placed on record clinical summary on February 17, 2021 issued by MM Hospital Jodhpur, wherein he was advised coronary angiography, which was refused by him,” the Rajasthan government said.
The reply also highlighted that the clinical summary of MM Hospital does not specify any specific health problem of immediate attention and such surgery or angiography cannot be done at an Ayurveda Hospital.
The reply further submitted that AIIMS, Jodhpur has a cardiologist, neurologist, urologist, endocrinologist, orthopaedic consultants and an experienced Ayurvedacharya available at Ayurveda University Hospital, Jodhpur and they are capable of treating Asaram effectively.
“Asaram is also facing trial at Sessions Court, Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat under Sections 376, 377, 354, 357, 342, 346, IPC and also at MM Court, Jodhpur under Sections 353, 355, 384, 177, 189, 120 (B) IPC and Section 66 of IT Act.
“With an ulterior motive, Asaram has been attempting to change the venue of his custody, under the guise of medical treatment. Such change would be an abuse of process of law.”
“Asharam deliberately doing this to delay pending trail at Gandhi Nagar and Jodhpur and he is stable and fit,” it added.
The self-styled spiritual guru, who claims to have millions of followers worldwide, has been given a life sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl, a devotee at his Ashram in Jodhpur, by a court in the city’s jail.
Asaram was arrested in 2013 after a case of sexual assault was filed against him by two of his followers, who alleged that he had assaulted their daughter.
Police said that the couple, who had sent the girl to one of his ashrams for spiritual lessons, were summoned to see her as she was “under the influence of some supernatural ghostly powers”. They were then told to take their daughter to Jodhpur to meet the guru.
The family reached the Jodhpur ashram on August 14, 2013. The following night, Asaram called the victim to his room on the pretext of “curing” her. He then raped the victim while her parents waited outside chanting his prayers, police said.
Police also said the guru forced the victim to perform sexual acts on him and threatened to murder her family if she spoke about the incident. The victim told her parents what had happened the following day. ILNS\ABV\RJ