29 May 2021: Goa government challenges Tarun Tejpal's acquittal in 2013 rape case
The Goa government has opposed the acquittal order of former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal in a 2013 case of sexual assault involving a junior colleague. The state argued before a vacation bench of the Bombay High Court in Goa that the acquittal order is "erroneous in law." The order had stated that the complainant did not exhibit "normative behavior" of a sexual assault victim.
Details: 'We owe it to our girls'
Representing Goa, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta challenged the sessions court order acquitting Tejpal. Pushing for an early hearing, the SG said "we owe it to our girls," The Indian Express reported. The trial court's handling of the case made it seem as though a sexual assault victim had to "exhibit her trauma" and unless she did that, she would not be believed.
Other concerns: Court order should redact details identifying victim: SG
Mehta said the trial court order should redact details identifying the victim and the names of her family members from its judgment references before it is uploaded to the court's website. Justice SC Gupte of the HC directed the sessions court to redact the details. "I am sorry the High Court has to do this. The trial court should have done it," Mehta said.
Other concerns: 'Victim rightly look advice of lady lawyer of repute'
The trial court's order mentioned that the complainant had sought the help of prominent lawyer Indira Jaising before drafting her complaint. "With the help of experts, there may be a possibility of doctoring of events or adding of incidents," Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi had said in the order. Mehta argued the complainant was "rightly took the advice of a lady lawyer of repute."
Fact: System expected sensitivity, legal competence; order lacked both: SG
Mehta said the judgment was "very astonishing." The system expected sensitivity towards the victim and legal competence, he said, adding that both were lacking in the trial court's judgment. The next hearing has been scheduled for June 2.
Acquittal: Tejpal was acquitted of rape last week
Tarun Tejpal was acquitted of all charges in case of rape and sexual harassment after he allegedly raped a junior colleague inside an elevator at a luxury Goa hotel. The acquittal order stated that the complainant experienced "no anxiety, fear, hesitation or trauma" meeting Tejpal after the alleged assault. Listing other occurrences, the order argued the complainant did not behave like a traumatized victim.
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Also see: Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka founder, acquitted in 2013 rape case
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