Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, serving life imprisonment in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur for the rape of a minor, has appealed for bail to the Supreme Court. Asaram’s appeal was made on the grounds that he is above eighty years of age and that the trial’s conclusion does not look imminent.

A bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar has, in this regard, issued the state of Gujarat a notice. The case is set to be heard on September 7. Asaram had earlier applied for bail on December 10, 2021. Gujarat High Court’s Justice AJ Desai, following objections to bail raised by prosecuting attorneys, had instructed Gandhinagar Sessions Court to end the proceedings within four months.

Also Read| FIRs against Nupur Sharma clubbed and transferred: Here’s what it means

While Asaram is currently jailed for the rape of a minor in Rajasthan, two sisters had filed separate cases against him and his son, Narayan Sai, in Gujarat as well. One sister had accused him of multiple sexual assaults in the 2001-06 time period. 

Following the bench’s order, social media is rife with posts by Asaram Bapu’s followers who are of the opinion that it is getting difficult for the godman to be out on bail because he was charged under IPC Section 120B. The devotees are citing this as a misuse of law.

After the multiple rape allegations come to light, Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, an organization of Hindu saints, had named Asaram Bapu in a list they released of a number of godmen they had classified as fake.

Also Read| Who is Justice UU Lalit?

Notably, Asaram had made some controversial comments about the victim in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi. He had said that the victim was as guilty as the perpetrators, also adding, “She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop”. However, the godman later went on to deny the comments and said that the words had been distorted.