Don't arrest rape accused pontiff, High Court tells govt

Don't arrest rape accused pontiff, High Court tells govt

The High Court on Tuesday directed the State government not to arrest Raghaveshvara Bharathi Swami, the pontiff of Ramachandrapura Mutt, in connection with a rape complaint filed against him.

Justice K N Phanindra directed the prosecution not to arrest or interrogate the seer for a period of one week. After hearing the seer’s petition, Justice Phanindra stayed the matter. 

Counsel for the complainant, however, submitted that if the matter is stayed, there will be nothing left for them to file objections and sought modifications to the order. The bench while upholding the contention of the petitioner that several attempts have been made to tarnish the seer’s reputation and that the arrest will affect his right to liberty, directed the prosecution to go ahead with other parts of the investigation.

A City-based woman lodged a complaint of sexual harassment of her mother, a devotee, by the petitioner since 2010, with the Banashankari Police. 

The complaint was lodged after she received a letter from her mother stating that she had been arrested by Honnavara Police, following a complaint by the Mutt threatening the musicians who were invited to perform in a function organised by the Math and revealed that she has been a victim of sexual harassment by the seer. 

Woman alleges threats

She had also alleged that the seer was threatening her of dire consequences if she reported the matter to the police.

The case was then transferred to the Girinagar Police. The trial court which heard the matter had directed that the accused be booked under rape charges. An FIR was filed against the seer. Challenging this in the court, the seer contended that it was an act of vengeance against him. He sought quashing of the complaint and stay on the investigation.

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