Jodhpur, April 17 (IANS) Apprehending trouble from thousands of followers of Asaram in case of an adverse judgment, the Jodhpur court will pronounce its verdict in a rape case against him inside the premises of the Central Jail here on April 25.
Considering an appeal from the Jodhpur Police Commissioner, a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday ordered the trial court to deliver its verdict inside the jail premises.
The division bench comprising Justice Gopal K. Vyas and Justice Ram Chandra Singh Jhala also issued guidelines to the Jodhpur Police Commissioner and the District Magistrate and Collector to ensure law and order in the city on the verdict day.
According to the high court’s order, the Central Jail Superintendent and the district administration have been directed to make all arrangements for proceedings inside the jail for the pronouncement of the judgment.
The Police Commissioner, anticipating a huge presence of the godman’s followers in the city on the judgment day, moved the high court to seek directions to the SC/ST cases trial court for pronouncing the judgment inside the jail. He also feared that the followers could indulge in vandalism and arson after the verdict.
The final arguments in the case were completed in the court of SC/ST Cases Special Judge Madhu Sudan Sharma on April 7.
Asaram was arrested in 2013 after a minor girl from Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) had reported sexual assault by Asaram in his ashram during her stay in Manai village on the outskirts of Jodhpur.
Thereafter, he was then brought from Indore and jailed in the Jodhpur Central jail. Several clashes have been reported between the police and his followers since then.
Asaram was booked under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the SC/ST Act and was denied bail by the Supreme Court.
He can face a maximum of 10 years of jail if found guilty.