The Gujarat High Court has refused to grant temporary bail to Asumal Harpalani alias Asaram who is wanting to get out of the prison citing coronavirus threat claiming that he would contract the virus if he remained behind the bars.
As the older population is more likely to be gripped by the coronavirus, Asaram (84) cited his advanced age and poor health condition to show his vulnerability to the infectious disease and wanting a release from the jail for four months.
His lawyer advocated, considering Asaram‘s age and condition, he would be more vulnerable to the coronavirus and so this is a fit case to grant temporary bail to the applicant has prayed for.
Asaram‘s lawyers also cited the Supreme Court‘s order to various state governments to release prisoners due to the risk of transmission of the coronavirus inside the prisons.
The bail plea was strongly objected by the public prosecutor. The plea was rejected by Justice Bela Trivedi observing, “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-powered committee constituted pursuant to the order passed by the Supreme Court”.
The committee had recommended the release of those under trial prisoners who were in the prison on charges punishable with imprisonment up to 7 years.
However, Asaram is facing charges in which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment after the amendments to the laws against sexual assault after the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
Asaram who is behind the bars after being charged in a rape case was arrested in October 2013 in Gujarat but has been lodged in a Jodhpur prison due to being convicted in another case for sexually assaulting a minor girl.