SC rejects Asaram Bapu's plea seeking suspension of sentence to undergo Ayurvedic treatment

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed the plea of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, facing varying jail terms including life sentence in sexual assault cases, that his sentence be suspended for few months for undergoing ayurvedic treatment, saying the offence was not an “ordinary crime at all”.

A bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee, V Ramasubramanian, and Bela M Trivedi took note of the response of the Rajasthan government that the convict has been provided requisite treatment and dismissed the plea.

“Sorry. It is not an ordinary crime at all. You will get all your ayurvedic treatment in jail,” the bench observed orally while dismissing the plea.

Senior advocate R Basant, appearing for the convict, said that an interim bail for a period of two months can be considered for allowing him to get the holistic treatment of his ailments.

Senior Advocate Manish Singhvi, representing the state, said the convict has been getting the best possible treatment in jail and urged dismissal of the plea.

A vacation bench, on June 4, had sought the response of the state government on Asaram’s plea that his sentence be suspended for two months for undergoing treatment at Prakash Deep Institute of Ayurved near Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

In its response, the state government had said that Asaram was hospitalised and in the intensive care unit for the treatment and his plea for transferring him had become infructuous.

Prior to this, the state government had told the top court that Asaram was fit and stable but trying to change the venue of his custody on the pretext of medical treatment.

Asaram is serving varying jail terms including life sentences in two sexual assault cases.

“The accused/petitioner with ulterior motives has been attempting to change the venue of his custody, under the guise of medical treatment. Such change, with due respect, is an abuse of the process of law,” the state government had said in its affidavit.

“The accused is also deliberately delaying the pending trial at Gandhi Nagar as well as Jodhpur, raising such pleas with mala fides whereas he is stable and fit,” it had said.

The state government had said Jodhpur is one of the rare centres, where both the allopathic and ayurvedic treatments are available.

It had also said Asaram was tested positive for COVID-19 on May 6 and was having mild symptoms, with low-grade fever and was treated properly.

A Jodhpur court, on April 25, 2018, had sentenced Asaram to life in prison after finding him guilty of raping a teenage girl in his ashram in 2013.

His accomplices Sharad and Shilpi were sentenced to 20 years in jail by the court in the same case for their roles.

The teenager had said in her complaint that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.

The 16-year-old girl from Shahjahanpur in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was studying at Asaram’s ashram in Chhindwara in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

He was also convicted in a 2002 rape case and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat.

Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013.

He was under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.