New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench on Monday recused from hearing the plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order granting bail to former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand in a rape case lodged by a law student.
A separate plea seeking transfer of the case to a Delhi court from Uttar Pradesh also came up for hearing before a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna.
“List both the matters before some other bench where Justice R Banumathi and Justice A S Bopanna are not members, after obtaining orders from the Chief Justice of India,” the bench said in its order.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, told the bench that these matters should be heard urgently.
The bench directed its registry to obtain appropriate orders for urgent listing of both the matters.
The high court had on February 3 granted bail to Chinmayanand who was arrested in a case of sexual exploitation of the woman studying law at a college run by his trust at Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
“Both parties crossed their limits and at this stage, it is very difficult to adjudicate as to who exploited whom. In fact, both of them used each other,” the high court had observed while granting bail to Chinmayanand.
Chinmayanand, whose trust runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied, was arrested on September 20 last year under section 376-C of the IPC, a charge short of rape.
The section is applied when someone in authority takes advantage of his official position to “induce or seduce” a woman to have sex with him.
In a parallel case, the woman was charged with allegedly trying to extort money from Chinmayanand, whom she had accused of rape.
The high court had granted her bail on December 4 last year.
The Supreme Court had stepped in after the 23-year-old law student went missing for a few days in August last year after posting a video clip on social media, alleging sexual abuse.
A special investigation team of Uttar Pradesh Police, formed on the directions of the apex court, arrested Chinmayanand about a month later.
The SIT also arrested the student after a complaint that she and her friends had tried to extort Rs 5 crore from Chinmayanand, threatening to make public videos showing her giving massages to him.