The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Gujarat government for dragging its feet in the trial of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu. The apex court asked the state counsel why the rape victim has not been examined till date.
A bench comprising justices N V Ramanna and Amitava Roy asked the state government to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for further hearing after Diwali.
Earlier in April, a bench comprising of the then Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul directed a Gujarat trial to expedite hearing in the case.
“The trial court is directed to expedite the examination of witnesses as expeditiously as may be practically possible,” the bench had said.
Appearing for the Gujarat government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had said 29 prosecution witnesses have already been examined and the statements of 46 witnesses are yet to be recorded.
The court had earlier rejected Asaram’s plea seeking bail on grounds of poor health. He is facing charges of rape and illegal confinement in two cases, one lodged in Rajasthan and other in Gujarat.
The apex court, while dismissing his bail plea on January 30, had observed that Asaram had placed a “fictitious document” to persuade the court to grant him bail and had ordered registration of an FIR against those responsible for preparing and filing the alleged fake papers. Asaram’s son Narayan Sai is also an accused in the case.
Asaram was arrested by Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then.