NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear on February 24 the plea against the Allahabad High Court order granting bail to former BJP lawmaker Swami Chinmayanand in an alleged rape case lodged by a law student.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, took note of the submissions of senior advocate Colin Gonsalves that the appeal against the high court order be accorded an urgent hearing.
The bench said it would consider hearing the appeal of the alleged victim next Monday. The high court had on February 3 granted bail to Chinmayanand, a former Union minister who was arrested in a case of sexual exploitation of a woman studying law at a college run by his trust at Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
"Both parties crossed their limits and at this stage, it is very difficult to adjudicate as to who exploited whom. In fact, both of them used each other," the high court had observed while granting bail to Chinmayanand.
Chinmayanand, whose trust runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied, was arrested on September 20 last year under section 376-C of the IPC, a charge short of rape. The section is applied when someone in authority takes advantage of his official position to "induce or seduce" a woman to have sex with him.
In a parallel case, the woman was charged with trying to extort money from Chinmayanand, whom she had accused of rape. The high court had granted her bail on December 4, last year also. The Supreme Court had stepped in after the 23-year-old law student went missing for a few days in August last year after posting a video clip on social media, alleging sexual abuse.
A special investigation team of Uttar Pradesh Police, formed on the directions of the apex court, arrested Chinmayanand about a month later. The SIT also arrested the student after a complaint that she and her friends had tried to extort Rs 5 crore from Chinmayanand, threatening to make public videos showing her giving massages to him.