The Goa government appeal against the acquittal of former Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal in a rape case was on Thursday, 24 June, adjourned to 29 July after the prosecution sought more time to further amend their memorandum of appeal.
“At the request of the learned advocate general (AG), leave is granted to further amend the memo of appeal. AG states that the further amendment will be carried out within a week from today (Thurdsay),” the Mumbai High Court Bench of justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar said.
Tarun Tejpal, who was accused of raping and sexually assaulting a former colleague in 2013, was acquitted by a Goa trial court on 21 May.
Tejpal was accused of forcing himself on the woman, inside an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa in 2013, during the news magazine’s official event – the THiNK 13 festival.
He was booked 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).
The trial court held that the "woman's behavior" was a key factor in "undermining her case", the order said. Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi, in the 537-page judgment wrote:
“It is extremely revealing that the prosecutrix’s (victim) account neither demonstrates any kind of normative behaviour on her own part – that a prosecutrix of sexual assault on consecutive two nights might plausibly show nor does it show any such behaviour on the part of the accused.”
The Goa government moved the Bombay High Court on 25 May. “This is injustice meted out to a woman. In Goa, we will not accept this… With the kind of evidence and documents we had in the case, it could not have led to an acquittal. This is very sad,” Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.
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