Asaram has moved the Rajasthan high court for parole after his plea for relief was rejected a second time, his counsel said on Saturday. Allowing his application, the high court on Friday issued a notice to the state government seeking a reply in two weeks.
Asaram, a self-styled godman, has been serving a life sentence following his conviction on April 25, 2018, for sexually assaulting a teenage student of his ashram. His counsel Kalu Ram Bhati said that the District Parole Committee rejected his parole application a second time on the ground that his release on parole could cause law and order issues. ”Asaram had moved an application seeking 20 days’ parole but the committee rejected it citing a negative report from the police,” he said. Bhati in court argued that Asaram had been serving the jail term for 11 years and even the Social Justice and Empowerment department had recommended parole for him. ”Moreover, his behaviour in this entire period in the jail has been satisfactory and he deserved parole owing to his old age and health,” he argued. Additional Advocate General Anil Joshi, however, sought some time to file his reply, after which, the division bench of Justice Vijay Bishnoi and Justice Rajendra Prakash Soni directed him to file his reply in two weeks’ time.
Asaram moved high court in July after his application seeking parole had been rejected by the committee on the ground that he was not entitled to parole under the provisions of the Rajasthan Prisoners Release on Parole Rules, 2021 (the Rules of 2021).
His counsel had then argued that the rule did not apply to Asaram as he had been convicted and sentenced before it came into force. The high court, disposing of his application, had then directed the committee to reconsider Asaram’s parole application in light of the old 1958 rules.