Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

HC serves notice to Tejpal on Goa’s plea

- Press Trust of India letters@hindustant­imes.com

PANAJI: The Goa bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday observed that the sessions court’s judgement acquitting journalist Tarun Tejpal in a 2013 rape case was like a “manual for rape victims” as it went into how a victim should respond in such cases. Justice SC Gupte issued a notice to Tejpal and posted for June 24 the appeal filed by the Goa government against the sessions court’s order acquitting him in the case.

The HC also directed the registry department to call for all papers and other documents related to the case from the sessions court. “The judgement goes into how she (victim) responded. There are some observatio­ns on this. It is like a manual for rape victims,” Justice Gupte said.

The HC bench made the remarks when Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Goa government, read out portions from the sessions court’s 527-page judgement which, while referring to the victim’s behaviour (both during the alleged incident and afterwards), said the narrative was of “extreme implausibi­lity”.

“The judgement says the victim, who is an intelligen­t woman and physically strong as she is a yoga instructor, could have prevented the sexual assault on her,” Mehta said.

On May 21, sessions Judge Kshama Joshi acquitted Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of the Tehelka magazine, in the case where he was accused of sexually assaulting his then colleague in a lift of a five-star hotel in Goa in November 2013 when they were attending an event. The trial court had in its judgement questioned the woman’s conduct, saying she did not exhibit any kind of “normative behaviour” such as trauma and shock which a victim of sexual assault might plausibly show.

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