NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain self-styled godman Asaram Bapu’s bail plea in a rape case lodged against him in Surat in Gujarat, but agreed to hear his petition for bail in another rape case filed in Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
A Bench headed by Justice T S Thakur asked Asaram, who has been in jail since September last year, to approach the Gujarat High Court for bail.
Asaram is facing trial along with his wife Lakshmi, daughter Bharti and his four women followers -- Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera -- in a rape case filed by a Surat-based woman.
The complainant had accused him of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006, while she was living in his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
The Bench, however, issued notice to Rajasthan Government on his bail plea in Jodhpur case asking it to file its response and posted the case for hearing in August.
The court also agreed to hear Asaram’s plea seeking its direction to trial court to allow him to place evidence to prove that the alleged victim was not a minor on the date of the incident.
A complaint was registered by father of a girl alleging that Asaram had raped her when she was studying in a school in his ashram.
He was then booked under Sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC (dealing with rape and sexual harassment), Section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act.