The Allahabad High Court on Friday indicted the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government for cancelling a rape case against former Union Home Minister Swami Chinmayanand Saraswati observing that the criminal dispensation system could not "afford to pick and choose".

It refused to set aside the decision of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Shahjahnapur declining to grant permission to the UP government to withdraw a rape case against Chinmayanand Saraswati, who was a minister in the third Atal Bihari Vajpayee government (1999-2004).

The saffron-clad veteran BJP leader heads Mumukshu Ashram, which manages several ashrams and educational institutions in Haridwar and Shahjahanpur.

The state government had moved an application before the lower court under Cr PC Section 321 seeking withdrawal of a rape case against Chinmayanand. Section 321 of the Cr PC enables the Public Prosecutor or his assistant to withdraw from trying any person either of one or more offences for which he has been charged. However, for doing so consent of the court is required.

The single-judge bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi, in his strongly worded 30-page order, criticised the UP government for its decision to withdraw the case against Chinmayanand remarking that the Shahjahanpur District Magistrate had failed to spell out or give even one single good reason for the withdrawal of the prosecution against the accused.

The Allahabad High Court judgement on Friday ordered the former home minister to surrender before the Shahjahanpur magistrate before October 30, 2022.

The former union minister had moved court challenging the Shahjahanpur Chief Judicial Magistrate order declining to accord permission to an application filed under CRPC Section 321 by the UP government to withdraw the rape case against the accused.

This case had been filed against Chinmayanand in 2012 by the rape survivor alleging that the former minister had forcibly established physical relations with her by administering intoxicants in her food and "brutally ravishing her".

According to the complainant the accused also took obscene audio-visual videos, and porn photographs. She stated that she had become pregnant twice and had to go for an abortion, once in Bareilly and then in Lucknow. She also charged him of getting her mercilessly beaten by his goons.

But Chinmayanand had temporarily managed to get the matter shelved by appointing the rape survivor as a principal in one of the educational institutions managed by him.

However, the matter did not remain buried forever. The rape survivor wrote to the then Chief Minister Mayawati in 2011 drawing attention to the wrongful confinement, illegal detention, sexual assault and abortion requesting her to get an FIR lodged. On the basis of the complaint letter an FIR was filed on November 30, 2011. The Investigating Officer filed a charge sheet against Chinmayanand in the Shahjahanpur Kotwali on October 23, 2012 under IPC Sections 376 (Rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The influential former minister challenged the charge-sheet. In December 2012 the High Court stayed the proceedings of the case and issued notice to the victim instead. The interim order lasted till 2018. This is when Chinmayanand moved an application under Cr PC 482 to quash criminal proceedings after taking into account the nature and other factual aspects. This application was rejected by the court on February 16, 2018.

Days after the rejection of Chinmayanand's application to overturn his case an Under Secretary of the Yogi Adityanath government on March 6, 2018, wrote a letter to the Shahjahanpur District Magistrate directing the public prosecutor to withdraw the case against Chinmayanand.

Responding to this letter, three days later, on March 9, 2018 the DM asked the Shahjahanpur Senior Public Prosecutor to withdraw the case against Chinmayanand.

Subsequently, the Shahjahanpur Senior Prosecuting Officer approved the request by claiming to have applied his "independent mind" and reached a conclusion that the criminal case should be withdrawn against the applicant (Chinmayanand) "in the larger interest of public and interest of justice", quotes the High Court judgement.

According to the judgement the Shahjahanpur DM, "requesting to pass appropriate order for such withdrawal speaks volume and needs no explanation. There is a change in the establishment after UP Assembly Elections in the year 2017 and within a short span of time, withdrawing the prosecution against the applicant that too in a heinous crime under section 376 IPC, the proximity of the time in decision taken by the State Government and the relevant person in whose favour the withdrawal of the prosecution has been made by the State Government, if taken cumulatively, then the reason would be obvious which needs no elaboration".

The order further states that considering that the accused is 76 years old with many age-related ailments a humanitarian approach would be followed and he may be allowed to apply for bail once he surrenders before the concerned Shahjahanpur magistrate by October 30,2022.

It may be mentioned here that this case in which Chinmayanand has been asked to surrender by the Allahabad High Court is not the high profile case of the law student's rape and sexual exploitation that hit national headlines in September 2019. He had reportedly filmed the law student taking a bath at the hostel on the basis of which he blackmailed and raped her.

However, the Allahabad High Court order came on an older case which has also come tumbling out in the open despite the accused and the Adityanath government's best efforts.