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Bombay High Court Adjourns Appeal Against Tarun Tejpal's Acquittal In Rape Case To August 10

Srishti Ojha
29 July 2021 11:21 AM GMT
Bombay High Court Adjourns Appeal Against Tarun Tejpals Acquittal In Rape Case To August 10
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The Bombay High Court(Goa Bench) on Thursday adjourned to August 10th the appeal against acquittal of Journalist Tarun Tejpal in rape case by a fast track court in Mapusa, Goa. A Bench of Justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar decided to adjourn the matter after Senior Advocate Amit Desai appearing for Tejpal informed the Court that the instructing Counsel Mr Ankur Chawla had a...

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The Bombay High Court(Goa Bench) on Thursday adjourned to August 10th the appeal against acquittal of Journalist Tarun Tejpal in rape case by a fast track court in Mapusa, Goa.

A Bench of Justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar decided to adjourn the matter after Senior Advocate Amit Desai appearing for Tejpal informed the Court that the instructing Counsel Mr Ankur Chawla had a bereavement late last night and sought time to file a short response to the leave to appeal.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the State of Goa submitted that "While for the bereavement there cannot be any objection. So far as leave is concerned, considering contours of the matter, the way in which the the Learned Judge has proceeded, the non grant of leave may not be an option. We may be failing in our duty."

The Bench asked Mr Desai "Will it not be better if we consider grant of leave and then post the matter? That's not end of matter, that is the first step, then it will have to be heard in detail."

Mr Desai responded saying that " I know what the issues are, there are some points on which i can fight, and on some I can't. There might be some legal questions on issue, and not on merits. There are legal questions which I am examining."

While leaving it to the Court to decide the date, SG Mehta stated that "I am tempted to persuade Your Lordships to grant leave, which is essentially a matter of discretion. The way in which adjudication has taken place, leave is much to be desired. Don't deal with our daughters like that, at least Judiciary is not expected."

The Bench noted that the matter is only being adjourned on the reason of bereavement.

On June 2, a vacation bench of Justice SC Gupte issued notice Tejpal observing that the judgement appears to provide a "manual" on how rape victims should behave.

Tejpal, co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka Magazine was acquitted of all charges on May 21 by a fast track court in Mapusa, Goa. He was accused of forcing himself on his junior colleague against her wishes, inside an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa on November 7 and 8, 2013, during the magazine's official event - the THiNK 13 festival.

In her 527-page judgement, Special Judge Kshama Joshi extensively commented on the woman's non-rape victim like behaviour and faulty investigation to grant Tejpal the benefit of the doubt.

On May 27, Justice Gupte directed the trial court to redact all references revealing the victim's identity while uploading the order on its website and permitted the Goa Government to amend its' Leave to Appeal.'

In its amended grounds for appeal u/s 378 of the CrPC the Goa Government has cited the trial court's lack of understanding of a rape victim's post-trauma behavior, using her past sexual history and education as legal bias against her, and making observations driven by "patriarchy" to challenge the judgment acquitting journalist Tarun Tejpal. It has also kept the option of re-trial open.

The appeal also seeks expunging of all such portions of the victim's evidence that are not in conformity with Sections 53A and 146 of the Indian Evidence Act. These sections make it inadmissible and impermissible to ask questions about a victim's past sexual history when issues regarding consent are involved.

He was tried for committing offences punishable under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (sexual harassment), 354A(1)(I)(II)(demand for sexual favours), 354B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376 (2)(f) (person in a position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)(k) (rape by a person in a position of control).


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