Asaram Bapu
Asaram Bapu|Image Courtesy: Sky News
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Followers might aggravate COVID-19 situation if released: Gujarat HC rejects temporary bail application filed by Asaram Bapu [Read Order]

The Court noted that amid the COVID-19 situation, there is a strong possibility that on release, Asaram's thousands of followers will congregate to meet him, which will aggravate the distressing situation.

Aishwarya Iyer

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea for temporary bail moved by Asaram Bapu, finding that no new ground has been made out for his release and further that Asaram's release may serve to aggravate the COVID-19 pademic.

Asaram had moved the plea citing the present pandemic situation of COVID-19, arguing that he had all probability of getting infected if he remained in jail since he has been suffering from various ailments and is 84 years of age.

As such, Asaram sought for being released on temporary bail for a four month period.

Justice AS Supehia, however, highlighted that if Asaram were to be released, it is likely that his thousands of followers would congregate to meet him and worse the COVID-19 crisis.

The Court noted that, “The applicant in the present application has made a specific averment that he has number of followers all over the world and in India."

As such, the Judge held,

".. it would not be apposite to release the applicant on bail in light of the prevailing situation of Covid 2019, since there is a strong possibility that on release of the applicant, his thousands of followers will congregate to meet him, which will aggravate the distressing situation.”
Gujarat High Court

The Court also noted that a similar temporary bail application filed on the same grounds by the Asaram was rejected in March on grounds that the applicant was charged for serious criminal offences under the Indian Penal Code.

In 2018, a Jodhpur Court had convicted the self-styled godman and two other accused in another rape case involving a minor victim.

Justice Supehia added that Asaram's case would not fall under any of the categories mentioned in the guidelines issued by the High Power Committee constituted pursuant to the Supreme Court's directive decongest prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court also recorded the State's submission that the jail authorities in Rajasthan jail where Asaram is lodged were taking ample precautions to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

Read the Order:

Order rejecting Temporaray Bail application- Asaram.pdf
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