Jodhpur, September 23, 2019: The Jodhpur High Court on Monday rejected a plea filed by self-styled godman Asaram Bapu challenging the life imprisonment sentence imposed on him for raping a minor girl.
Advocates Shirish Gupte and Pradeep Chaudhary, representing Asaram, argued that the victim was not a minor and their client should not have been convicted under provisions of POSCO Act.
Dismissing the petition, a special bench of Justices Sandeep Mehta and Vineet Kumar Mathur, said the trial court had already established that the girl was below 18 years age at the time of occurrence the crime.
Talking to media persons here, the victim's counsel PC Solanki said: "An application was moved before the trial court with regard to the age of the victim on the day of occurrence of the crime. The trial court had dismissed the application in a detailed order. When the defence sought an inquiry, the high court said the defence cannot argue this point as an inquiry has already been taken place."
Asaram's counsel, Solanki said, sought relief for him on the grounds that he was an old man but the court did not take the argument into account by the court.
His counsel sought a final hearing in the case on which the court fixed the second week of January 2020, Solanki said.
On August 20, the high court had adjourned the hearing on the petition.
Asaram was found guilty of raping a minor girl in Manai village near Jodhpur on August 2013. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in April last year by Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court.
Asaram is currently lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail.
He was found guilty of various charges, including sections 370(4) (trafficking), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354A (outraging modesty), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and some sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The court had also sentenced two other accused, Shilpi and Sharad to 20 years jail term each in connection with the case. (Agency)