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Bengaluru, Nov 21: The Karnataka High Court on Monday stayed the non-bailable warrant issued against Murugha Mutt’s Pontiff Dr Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru in the second case against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

The warrant was stayed hours after being issued by Second Additional Sessions Judge, Chitradurga district, BK Komala.

The High Court had on November 8 granted interim bail to the seer in the first case subject to the condition that he will not tamper with evidence and will stay away from the district until the conclusion of the trial.

Justice Suraj Govindaraj observed that the actions of the trial court as well as the public prosecutor were contrary to the order of the High Court in the first case.

In the first case, the Murugha Mutt pontiff has been accused of sexually abusing two children in the Mutt’s hostel, Bar and Bench reported.

In the second case, he stands accused of sexually assaulting the teenaged daughter of an ex-employee of the Mutt.

The trial court issued the non bailable warrant against the seer after being informed by the public prosecutor that Murugha was not appearing before the court and was appearing through video conference.

Aggrieved, Murugha moved the High Court under Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The Court stated that it was shocking that the public prosecutor was not aware of the order passed by the High Court in the first case asking him to stay away from Chitradurga district. It further noted that the order was cited by Murugha but was not considered by the trial court.

The restriction on Murugha from entering Chitradurga District would apply to any proceedings against him in the district, the Court observed.

“Once there is a restriction imposed by this Court restricting the petitioner from entering Chitradurga district, it would not only apply to cases from which the petition arose out of, but also to all proceedings pending in Chitradurga district,” it said.

The Court observed that the order caused gross injustice to Murugha. Hence, it stayed the warrant and ordered immediate release of Murugha from District Jail, Chitradurga.