Asaram case: Rajasthan HC stays notification for shift of trial venue

Jodhpur: The Rajasthan high court on Friday stayed a notification, which shifted the trial of a case against rape accused Asaram Bapu to the jail premises, till September 14.

Following the stay, the trial of the case, which is currently progressing in the sessions court set up at the jail premises, will have to be brought back to the court campus from Monday.

“Since the high court has stayed the notification, the trial of the case would resume on Monday at its original place, the Sessions Court (Jodhpur District),” said counsel appearing for Asaram, Nishant Boda.

The petitioner’s counsel, while questioning the August 3 notification issued by the Registrar General of the High Court stating that the trial be conducted in the Central Jail from August 5, argued that the decision by the chief justice was not in pursuance of the powers assigned to the chief justice.

On seeking time for a reply to this argument by the advocate of the high court, a division bench headed by justice Govind Mathur deferred the matter till September 14 but stayed the notification.

On the direction of the high court administration, the trial of the case against Asaram has been taking place in the premises of Jodhpur Central Jail since August 5, with last prosecution witness, the Investigating Officer Chanchal Mishra, being examined.

The notification was challenged by the accused first in the trial court, which rejected Asaram’s plea, and then in the high court.

A teenaged girl has accused Asaram Bapu of sexual assault at his ashram at village Manai near Jodhpur. The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur (UP) was a student at the ashram.

Following her complaint against Asaram, he was arrested by Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and is in jail since then.