On a day when Dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim was sentenced to ten years in a rape case, the Supreme Court today slammed the Gujarat government for the delay in conducting trial in a rape case against self-styled godman Asaram.
Senior Advocate Sanjay R.Hegde, who appeared for Asharam submitted that there is a delay on the part of the prosecution for expeditious disposal of the trial.
Seeking a status report from Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Gujarat government, a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana asked :"Why is there a delay in conducting the trial?".
“As per the prosecution the rape victim is the most crucial witness and she has not been examined yet”, the bench said.Mehta, on his part, pointed out that they had to ensure her safety in the wake of past incidents. "Two prime witnesses have been killed and 17 others were injured," he told the bench, adding let them decide an appropriate time to examine her.
It is to be noted that back in April 12 the SC had asked the trial court to expedite the trial, chiefly the recording of the evidence of the prosecution, but nothing had moved.
The case before the Gandhinagar court relates to a complaint filed by a Surat-based woman, who accused Asaram Bapu of raping her many times when she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city between 1997 and 2006.The chargesheet also names his wife Lakshmiben, daughter Bharti and four women followers Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera for abetment of rape. The charges against Asaram Bapu were framed in March last year.
Read the Order here