The High Court of Bombay, Goa bench, has directed the trial court not to allow the Tarun Tejpal's lawyer to ask questions during cross-examination which are irrelevant to the trial of the rape case alleged against him.
Justice Nutan Sardessai passed the order on Thursday in the victim's plea to restrain Tejpal's counsel Shrikant Shivade from asking her "indecent and scandalous" questions.
Appearing for Tejpal in the High Court, his counsel Advocate Lawande sought an adjournment and more time for the next date of hearing as they intend to engage Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal in the case. Thus, time was granted till December 20.
However, victim's counsel Advocate Vijay Hiremath submitted that the matter is scheduled to come up before the trial court on December 17 and 18, if directions are not given, the cross would continue in the same manner.
Thus, Court directed the trial court to ensure that only the questions relevant to the case are asked.
The trial is being conducted in-camera at the Additional District and Sessions Court in Mapusa, North Goa.
Speaking to Live Law about the trial, Special Public Prosecutor Francisco said-
"The grievance made in the petition is that throughout cross-examination ever since it started nothing relevant to the case have been asked. The questions asked so far have been humiliating and amount to victim shaming. None of the questions are relevant to the case, this is contrary to law, victim has alleged.
After so many sessions if the cross-examination questions are still irrelevant to the case, the manner in which it is being conducted, there is no end in sight. The Supreme Court has already passed the directions to complete the trial in 6 months."
The victim had also sought a partition screen between her and Tejpal as she felt intimidated by his presence. The High Court asked the victim to raise the same contention before the trial court.
Tejpal, who is currently on bail, has been booked under Sections 376, 341, 342, 354A and 354B of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly sexually assaulting his junior colleague in a lift at a Hotel in Goa during a Tehelka magazine event. He had filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking quashing of proceedings which was dismissed and a three-judge bench of the apex court directed the trial to be completed within six months.
The trial began in October and victim's cross examination was also started in the same month.