The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday admitted a plea filed by two women asking it to sentence rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to life in prison, ANI reported. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief was sentenced to 20 years in prison in August for raping the two women.
The court also admitted Singh’s plea challenging his conviction. His counsels told the bench on Monday that he had “renounced the world” and was not in a position to pay the Rs 30 lakh fine imposed by the trial court, The Indian Express reported. He was asked to pay the sum to the two followers he was convicted of raping.
A division bench of justices Surya Kant and Sudhir Mittal, however, disposed of this appeal and asked Singh to deposit the amount within two months with the Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula. The special court will keep the amount in a bank till the pendency of the appeal.
On August 25, the special CBI court in Panchkula had convicted Singh in two rape cases registered against him in 2002. At least 41 people died in the violence that followed his conviction. On August 28, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Dera chief had approached the High Court in September, seeking his acquittal in the case. In his appeal, he said the trial court’s judgement was “perverse and illegal”. Singh questioned how an FIR was filed on the basis of an anonymous complaint, The Indian Express reported.
On October 4, the two women had approached the High Court, seeking life imprisonment for the convicted rapist. The advocate representing the two women, Navkiran Singh, said they had sought life imprisonment because Singh had “broken their trust and misused his position as a religious and spiritual leader”.