Delay no more! Court orders framing of charges against Tarun Tejpal

A Goa court has formally given its nod for framing of charges against the former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal. He was accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague in the elevator of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in 2013.

The public prosecutor, Francisco Taviera said that the founder and former editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal pleaded not guilty to the rape charge. However, Tejpal has pleaded guilty to charges under Sections 341 and 342 (wrongful restraint) and 354 (sexual harassment) of IPC.

Tejpal will also be tried under section 376(2)F and 376(2)K of the stringent provisions of the law introduced recently, after the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.

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Section 376(2)F of the law relates to a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman, commits rape on such woman and Section 376(2)K of the law relates to a person who, being in a position of control or dominance over a woman, commits rape on such woman.

Tejpal was booked under 354-A (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment), 376 (rape), 376(2)(k) IPC by the Crime Branch. Sections 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 376 (2)(f) (person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women), 376C (sexual intercourse by person in authority) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) were added later.

In the course of the hearing, Public prosecutor S Lotlikar had argued: “We are on a notice before the court. Charge will be framed, there is a mandate under the law that it should be completed within a stipulated time, here is a direction of the apex court that it should be concluded. It was earlier meant to be concluded in 8 months or earlier. We have now at least three years in this. There is no justification for stay of order.”

The additional and district sessions court at Mapusa will begin the hearing on November 21.

The charges were framed two days after the Bombay high court rejected Tejpal’s plea to put on hold the framing of charges till it decided a petition to drop all charges against him.

The court has summarily shut down the various delay tactics deployed by the accused. This framing of charges is also a scathing indictment of the high and mighty that came in defense of the accused, who will now face trial.

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