2015 Sacrilege Case: Punjab & Haryana HC Allows Gurmeet Ram Rahim To Appear Through Videoconferencing

As cleared by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim who is currently lodged in Sunaria Jail of Rohtak will now appear only through video conferencing in matters related to the 2015 sacrilege incidents.

The cases against Ram Rahim are related to the 2015 sacrilege incidents reported in the Faridkot district of Punjab. Parts of Guru Granth Sahib were found scattered in village Bargari in Faridkot on October 12, 2015, and an FIR was registered under sections 295, 120-B of IPC at Police Station Bajakhana.Currently, Ram Rahim is serving his sentence in rape and murder cases.

The direction by Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan came on a petition filed by Ram Rahim seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to dispense with his physical presence and production before a court in Punjab in connection with the sacrilege-related matter. Directions were also sought to permit his presence through videoconferencing. Detailed order was yet to be uploaded.

The dera chief, through counsel Vinod Ghai and advocate Kanika Ahuja, had submitted that the direction was necessary “due to threat to the life of the petitioner”.

“Three FIRs were filed in sacrilege cases. We had filed a plea that if Ram Rahim has to be produced before Court, it has to be done only via video conferencing. He shouldn’t be taken to Punjab. Today, Court gave the order in favour of Ram Rahim,” said his lawyer Kanika Ahuja.

“It ordered that if trial in sacrilege cases are going on in Punjab, Ram Rahim will not be taken to Punjab in proceedings of any case. All proceedings will be done via video conferencing,’ she added.

The court observed that the movement of Ram Rahim from Sunaria Jail, Rohtak, to Faridkot will not only create law and order problems but also incur a huge financial burden, especially on Punjab. Hence, it ordered that the trial in respect of Ram Rahim will continue through video conferencing. For supply of any document when the court requires his personal appearance, the trial court will send the same through the district and sessions judge, Rohtak.

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