The Delhi High Court on Monday rejected rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim's 'daughter' Honeypreet's anticipatory bail plea. Honeypreet, who has been on the run following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief in two rape cases last month, had approached the Delhi High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail.
During the hearing, the Haryana Police had opposed filing of Honeypreet's plea in Delhi High Court, terming it as 'forum shopping'.
The court said she was not entitled to any "discretionary relief" as she has been evading arrest since the violence that had erupted after the conviction of the Dera chief on August 25, claiming 41 lives and leaving scores injured.
Transit anticipatory bail application is meant to seek protection against arrest. In this case, Honeypreet had sought protection from arrest during her transit from Delhi to Haryana to join the probe in the sedition case.
Priyanka Taneja alias Honeypreet, the adopted daughter of the jailed Dera chief, tops the list of 43 persons 'wanted' by the Haryana Police in connection with incidents of violence that had followed Ram Rahim's conviction in the rape cases.
What Delhi HC told Honeypreet
Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said the application of Honeypreet was "not bonafide and has been filed with a view to gain time" and delay the proceedings going on in a Panchkula court in Haryana.
The court noted that Honeypreet, who has been on the run since the conviction of Ram Rahim, has remained non-committal in joining the probe or surrendering. Her plea for protection to enable her to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the relief was "without merit".
Despite a lookout notice against her, the efforts of the police to apprehend her have not yielded results, it said.
The judge also observed that the grant of anticipatory bail was a judicial discretion which has to be exercised on circumspection, and the court has to satisfy that the bail application has been made on bonafide grounds and there is no manipulation and manoeuvering on the part of the applicant for artificially creating jurisdiction for the court.
Further, the court said, whenever an application for anticipatory bail is made before a court, where an FIR has been lodged elsewhere that is out of the territorial jurisdiction, the court is duty-bound to consider whether the applicant is a regular or bonafide resident of a place within the local limits of that court and is "not a camouflage to evade the process of law."
"Noticing the above and keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case that the applicant till now has evaded arrest, discretionary relief should not be granted to the applicant.
"It appears that the application is not bonafide and has been filed with a view to gain time. The prayer of the counsel for the applicant that protection be granted to him so that he may approach the High Court of Punjab and Haryana is without merit as the applicant had the liberty to avail the remedy before the competent court," the judge said while dismissing the plea.
Haryana, Delhi oppose Honeypreet's plea
Earlier in the day, the high court had reserved the order on the bail plea of the 37-year-old woman after hearing the arguments of her counsel and those of the Delhi and Haryana Police.
During the hearing, the high court had questioned Honeypreet for filing an anticipatory bail plea before it even though she was a permanent resident of Haryana and told her "the easiest way out is that you surrender".
Honeypreet told the court that "she is a single woman with clean antecedents, is law abiding and willing to join the investigation" into the Dera Sacha Sauda chief who was last month sentenced to 20 years in prison. Honeypreet also claimed that her life is under threat from drug syndicates in Haryana and Punjab.
Her plea was vehemently opposed by the counsel for Delhi and Haryana Police who said it was "a ploy to do 'forum shopping'" and, by giving a wrong address of a Delhi property, she was "hoodwinking" the court.
Priyanka Taneja alias Honeypreet, the adopted daughter of the jailed Dera chief, tops the list of 43 persons wanted by the Haryana Police in connection with incidents of violence that had followed Ram Rahim's conviction in the rape cases.
Ram Rahim was convicted by the special CBI court in Panchkula on August 25, following which violence and arson had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa districts of Haryana which had claimed 41 lives and left several others injured.
(With PTI inputs)