The Gujarat High Court Bench of Justice A. S. Supehia on June 03, 2020, rejected an application for temporary bail filed by Asaram Bapu, finding that no new ground had been made out for his release and Asaram's release may serve to aggravate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asaram Bapu had prayed for release on temporary bail for four months on various grounds.
The Counsel for Asaram Bapu had submitted that looking to the present pandemic situation of Covid-19 virus infection prevailing all over the world, the applicant had all probability of getting infected in the jail at Rajasthan. It was also submitted that the applicant-accused, was in judicial custody for the last several years and he was suffering from various ailments. The applicant was 84 years of age and as per her information in the Jodhpur Jail, some of the prisoners were affected with Corona Virus, and hence, there was every likelihood that the applicant may also get affected by this virus, the counsel submitted.
The Counsel also relied on the guidelines issued by the Central Government and the State Government that aged persons were likely to be affected with Corona Virus and hence, the applicant was required to be released on temporary bail for the above period.
Addition Public Prosecutor had vehemently opposed the application, submitted that the applicant-accused had earlier approached the Court citing the same reasons by filing Criminal Misc. Application No. 5886 of 2020 and by the order dated March 30, 2020, the Court had rejected the request of the applicant-accused in view of the orders passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Earlier on March 30, 2020, the High Court had rejected the said application by observing as under:
“Having regard to the submissions made by the learned advocates for the parties and to the documents on record, more particularly the copy of the FIR registered against the applicant – accused, it appears that the applicant – accused is involved in a very serious offense under Sections 376(2)(c), 377, 354, 357, 342, 346, 506(2) and 120(B) of IPC, 1860. It also appears that his regular bail applications were not granted by this Court as well as by the Supreme Court. The case of the applicant also does not fall under any of the categories mentioned in the guidelines issued by the High-Power Committee constituted pursuant to the order passed by the Supreme Court in Suo Moto Writ Petition No. 1 of 2020.”
Rejecting the present new application, the Court held that,
“No new ground has been raised by the applicant seeking the indulgence of this Court in releasing him on temporary bail. The applicant in the present application has made a specific averment that he has a number of followers all over the world and in India. Considering the said averment, it would not be apposite to release the applicant on bail in light of the prevailing situation of Covid-19, since there is a strong possibility that on the release of the applicant, his thousands of followers will congregate to meet him, which will aggravate the distressing situation”