New Delhi: Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the interim bail plea of self-styled 'godman' Asaram, who is in jail in connection with a rape case, on the basis of a report of AIIMS doctors that he does not require any surgery.
"We have no reason to reject the opinion of the experts of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)," a three judge bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said.
Earlier, an eight-member panel of AIIMS doctors, formed on the order of the apex court, had filed the report with the court saying Asaram did not need any surgery and his aliments could be managed through medicines.
The apex court also asked the Jodhpur trial court, which is hearing the case on day-to-day basis, to take "effective steps" to examine the remaining three of the six "material witnesses" at the earliest.
It also said Asaram was free to file fresh bail plea after the recording of statements of three remaining key witnesses with the trial court which could decide his plea on merits.
At the outset, the bench, which also comprised justices R K Agrawal and Adarsh Kumar Goel, made clear to Asaram's counsel that it would hear only the interim bail plea filed on medical grounds as earlier submitted by senior advocate Salman Khurshid.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for Asaram, said, "yes, there was an application for interim bail on medical grounds, but I have something to say on merits also."
"Three material witnesses (the girl and her parents) have already been examined and out of remaining three material witnesses, one has been partly examined. Moreover they have nothing to do with the alleged offence in question," he said.
The bench said "we want to make it very clear to you. If you do not go to the High Court then we will not allow you to withdraw it from here and we will pass a detailed order.
"We will not allow you to waste the judicial time then withdraw the application. You are there (jail) because there are serious allegations against you." the bench said.
"I have no option then," the lawyer said and started arguing for interim bail on medical grounds only.
Asaram, 76, is in jail since his arrest in August, 2013 in a rape case lodged at Jodhpur in Rajasthan.