The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition by religious leader Asaram seeking the suspension of his jail sentence to allow him to undergo ayurvedic treatment, Live Law reported.

Asaram is currently serving a life term in a Jodhpur jail in Rajasthan for raping a 16-year-old girl. In 2018, he was convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The religious leader approached the top court seeking interim bail for two months so that he could pursue ayurvedic treatment at Prakash Deep Institute of Ayurved near Haridwar in Uttarakhand, PTI reported.

“Sorry, in this sort of a situation, taking an overall view, it’s not an ordinary crime at all,” Justice Indira Banerjee remarked, according to Live Law. “You’ll get all your ayurvedic treatment in jail...We’ll direct the jail authorities to take care that ayurvedic treatment is granted.”

R Basant, the advocate appearing for Asaram, had claimed that his client was not getting proper ayurvedic treatment in jail. He said that Asaram is 85 years old, and asked if the court believed that he would commit an offence again.

“Mercy is all that I’m asking for,” the advocate said.

On the other hand, senior advocate Manish Singhvi, appearing for the Rajasthan government, said that the religious leader was getting the best possible treatment in jail, PTI reported.

Earlier, in an affidavit, the state government had said that Asaram “has been attempting to change the venue of his custody, under the guise of medical treatment”. The government said that such a change would be an abuse of the legal process.

The government added that Jodhpur jail was one of the few prisons where both allopathic and ayurvedic treatment was available.

Asaram is also facing a trial for a rape case registered against him in Surat. The trial is pending in a court in Gandhinagar.

The Rajasthan government had claimed in its affidavit that the religious leader was trying to delay the trial in Gandhinagar by “raising such pleas with mala fides whereas he is stable and fit”.

Earlier, Asaram had approached the Rajasthan High Court seeking the suspension of his sentence in order to undergo treatment. The High Court rejected the petition on May 21.

The court had said that suspending the sentence would be futile, because as soon as he would be released from Jodhpur jail, he would have to be taken to Gujarat in connection with the trial. The High Court noted that a production warrant would be in force against him, according to Live Law.