High Court reserves order on Rampal's bail

High Court reserves order on Rampal's bail

A day after issuing a fresh non-bailable warrant (NBW) against 'godman' Rampal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its judgement on cancellation of his bail in connection with a 2006 murder case.

During the hearing, the amicus curiae pressed for immediate cancellation of Rampal's bail, saying the "credibility of the entire judicial system" would be "at stake" if his bail was not cancelled.

Haryana government represented by state' Additional Advocate General also supported the amicus curiae and demanded cancellation of his bail in wake of his "unacceptable" conduct.

However, Rampal's counsel sought continuation of bail, saying he was granted exemption from personal appearance by the trial court.

A division bench of the court had taken suo motu notice of cancellation of bail on November 10 when the 'godman' did not appear in court despite NBW against him.

Rampal along with 38 other accused was charged with murder and other offences on July 12, 2006 after one person died and several others were injured following a violent clash between his followers and another group. He along along with 38 others was being tried in a sessions court of Rohtak.

Rampal was granted bail by the High court on April 2, 2008. "After hearing the arguments, the division bench comprising justices M Jeyapaul and Darshan Singh has reserved its judgement (on Rampal's bail cancellation). No time limit or date has been given as yet for pronouncing the judgement," said amicus curiae and senior advocate Anupam Gupta.

The high court had yesterday issued fresh NBW for November 21 against Rampal after he did not appear in a contempt case while slamming the Haryana government for "failing" to produce him before court.

During the course of the over two-hours long hearing on Rampal's bail cancellation, Gupta submitted that there was a "compelling, overwhelming and incontrovertible" case of immediate cancellation of bail.

"Rampal and his followers have fortified themselves.... have created a state within a state, confronting the entire state apparatus and also created his own private army with weapons. He has been surrounded by a human shield comprising women and children and he has openly proclaimed his lack of faith in judiciary and judicial system and his refusal to cooperate or associate with the trial," he said.

"This trial becomes secondary. What is primary important is that if his bail was not cancelled by the high court immediately, not only his trial will be frustrated, (but also) the credibility of the entire judicial system in this region over which the high court presides will be reduced to naught," Gupta submitted.

Gupta, during his arguments, said Rampal was granted exemption from appearance in the trial court 42 times during 2010 and 2014.

After framing of charges on September 12, 2008 against Rampal, Gupta said he appeared in court only thrice.

Supporting his plea, Additional Advocate General Lokesh Singhal also sought cancellation of Rampal's bail, saying his conduct was "unacceptable".

"Rampal's conduct calls for cancellation of bail. Not only because he refused to submit to the jurisdiction of this court for contempt proceedings but also because of his conduct during the trial of the case. There is every possibility that even at the time of conviction, he would not appear before this court. Therefore, in view of the conduct of Rampal, his bail should be cancelled," said Singhal in his submission.

Rampal's counsel, advocate K D S Hooda said, "It is preconceived and misconceived that he would not appear in the court," adding that he was granted exemption from personal appearance by the trial court.

Judge M Jeyapaul in his verbal observation said, "You have disobeyed the orders of this court. How would you face trial."

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