The Gujarat High Court on Thursday admitted for hearing an appeal filed by self-styled godman Asaram against a recent trial court order convicting him of rape. The Gandhinagar sessions court in January this year sentenced Asaram to life imprisonment in a rape case, based on a complaint filed by a former woman disciple in 2013.
A division bench of Justices S H Vora and Mauna Bhatt heard the appeal briefly on Thursday and admitted it for final hearing. The sessions court convicted Asaram for rape, unnatural offences and wrongful confinement. A woman disciple from Surat had alleged that Asaram raped her on several occasions between 2001 to 2007 at his ashram at Motera near Ahmedabad.
The 81-year-old `godman' is currently serving life sentence in a Jodhpur jail in another case where he was accused of raping a girl at his ashram in Rajasthan in 2013. In its order, the Gandhinagar court noted that Asaram sexually abused a victim who was younger than his daughter.
"The accused committed a very serious crime against society and such a heinous crime cannot have any place of sympathy and should be punished to the fullest extent prescribed by law...It becomes the moral responsibility not only of the society but also of the court to set an example and prevent such behaviour," Additional Sessions Judge D K Soni noted in the order.