The bench asked the ASG to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for further hearing after Diwali.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat government to explain the inordinate delay in the trial of self-styled “godman” Asaram Bapu in a rape case for which he was arrested in 2013.
A bench comprising justices N.V. Ramana and Amitava Roy asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, to explain why the victim has not been examined so far. The ASG pleaded that some more time may be required for examination of the victim and other witnesses. The bench asked the ASG to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for further hearing after Diwali.
The court had in April directed the trial court in Gujarat to expedite the examination of prosecution witnesses while rejecting the Asaram’s bail plea. The godman was asked to seek bail after
the conclusion of the examination of key witnesses as well as the trial in Rajasthan, which is being held on a day-to-day basis.
Senior counsel Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the petitioner, informed the bench that the proceedings in Gujarat are lagging behind and that there is an inordinate delay in the examination of witnesses.
He said many prosecution witnesses had not been examined so far and at this rate it will take a long time for conclusion of the trial.
In his appeal seeking bail, Asaram said he has been incarcerated in the prison since September 1, 2013. Asaram said the Gujarat High Court on a completely erroneous basis disregarded the overwhelming medical evidence and has rejected the interim bail and sought his release on bail to enable him to avail treatment. The other accused are on bail, he said and prayed for parity in granting bail.