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Goa Bench of Bombay HC issues notice in Tarun Tejpal case, says verdict reads like a ‘manual for rape victims’

The Bombay High Court, therefore, has asked for all records from the trial court to be sent to the court. Justice SC Gupte has issued a notice to Tejpal and posted the hearing for June 24 against the sessions court's order acquitting him in the case.

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday has issued a notice to former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal. The Goa bench of the Bombay HC was hearing an appeal filed by the Goa government against Tarun Tejpal’s recent controversial acquittal in the 2013 rape case.

The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court noted that the verdict reads like a “manual for rape victims” as it had gone on to describe how a victim should or should not respond in such cases.

The Bombay High Court, therefore, has asked for all records from the trial court to be sent to the court. Justice SC Gupte has issued a notice to Tejpal and posted the hearing for June 24 against the sessions court’s order acquitting him in the case.

Citing the trial court’s lack of understanding of a victim’s post-trauma behaviour and attacking her character, the Goa government argued that the order is a fit case for retrial.

The Goa government, criticising the trial court judgement, had remarked, “(The court) considered the evidence given by defence witnesses as gospel truth, but at the same time discredited without any finding the evidence given by the victim and the prosecution witnesses”.

In an unfortunate incident, the trial court in its judgment raised questions over the victim’s conduct and remarked that she did not exhibit any kind of “normative behavior” such as trauma or shock which a sexual assault victim might plausibly show.

It also brought to light the fact, the trial court completely ignored the most crucial evidence in the case which was an apology e-mail “establishing the guilt of the accused beyond a shadow of doubt”.

Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal

On May 21 Tarun Tejpal, the founder and former editor-in-chief of ‘Tehelka’ was acquitted of all charges in the sexual assault and rape case of a junior colleague by a district court in Goa.

The far-left journalist was accused of forcing himself on a colleague against her wishes inside an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa, on November 7, 2013, during an official event. He had stepped down as editor for six months after being accused of sexual assault.

Tejpal had thanked Congress leaders

In an official statement released, Tejpal had thanked the people who helped him in the legal battle. He sad, “In these 8 years a host of outstanding lawyers came to our aid, and we owe them all a deep debt, prime among them Pramod Dubey, Aamir Khan, Ankur Chawla, Amit Desai, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Aman Lekhi, Sandeep Kapoor, Raian Karanjewala, and Shrikant Shivade”. He also thanked lawyer Ravi Sharma.

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