Rajasthan HC dismisses plea for temporary suspension of Asaram Bapu’s sentences

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The Rajasthan high court on Friday dismissed the application for temporary suspension of sentences of Asaram Bapu and directed the district and jail administration to ensure that proper treatment is provided to the convict appellant at a suitable medial institution in the light of the medical reports from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur.

The division bench of justices Sandeep Mehta and Devendra Kachhawaha said: “It shall also be ensured that no sooner, the convict is lodged back at jail after recovery, he will be provided proper treatment, nutritious diet and safe environment looking to his old age and medical condition.”

Asaram Bapu, who is serving life term in Jodhpur Central Jail in a minor girl’s rape case, had approached the high court for ayurvedic treatment of many diseases.In the meantime, on May 5, he was tested positive for Covid-19 and was shifted to AIIMS. Meanwhile, he developed internal gastrointestinal bleeding so his haemoglobin dropped to critically low levels.

Asaram’s counsel JS Choudhary told the court that the convict has expressed his desire in writing that he does not desire to take the allopathic line of treatment and instead, his followers may be allowed to set up a fully functional medical facility at his Ashram at Pal Village, Jodhpur, so that he can be treated by ayurveda. Choudhary added that if Asaram’s sentences are suspended, he will abide by any condition imposed by the court. He said Asaram may be sent to the Rajasthan Ayurveda University for treatment of his gastrointestinal bleeding and other ailments.

Observing that Asaram is also facing trial in another case in Gujarat involving the offence under Section 376 IPC and is in custody in connection with the said case as well, the court quoted the medical reports that his condition is stable but he requires further investigation and follow-up for his gastrointestinal bleeding. “This treatment is unquestionably available at the MDM Hospital, Jodhpur,” the bench said.

“Suspending the sentences awarded to the appellant in this case would be nothing short of an exercise in futility because immediately on his release from the Central Jail, Jodhpur, he would be required to be taken to State of Gujarat in connection with the case pending trial as a production warrant certainly would be in force,” the court said.

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