Former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal moves HC pleading for in-camera hearing of appeal filed by govt

The counsel appearing for Tarun Tejpal, submitted that the application has been filed keeping in mind the nature of the case being heard

Tarun Tejpal (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Tarun Tejpal (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

NH Web Desk

Former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal has moved the Bombay High Court at Goa seeking in-camera hearing of the appeal filed by the state government challenging his acquittal in the sexual assault case against a former female colleague.

Senior Advocate Amit Desai, appearing for Tejpal, submitted that the application has been filed keeping in mind the nature of the case being heard.

"Because of the sensitivity of the issue (in the case), what (evidence) that will be read out.. This is not adversarial, I believe," Desai submitted.

He also informed the Court that every proceeding in the case so far had been through in-camera hearing only.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Goa government, opposed the request submitting that while he would have normally agreed to such a request, in the present case he is opposing it as there is an 'institutional failure' which ended up deterring sexual assault victims from approaching courts.

"The way our institution has failed, leaving an inevitable impression upon all victims of sexual violence, and onslaught, that it has a deterrent effect on potential victims. They might not come before the court," he said, as per a Bar & Bench report.

“The country has a right to know what happened with the girl, who came with a complaint, precise facts, corroborative evidence," Mehta argued.

"In a lighter vein, there are two ways clothes are removed, first is when accused removes clothes of the victim, and the second is when his clothes are removed in court of law," Mehta added.

Desai however objected to such a submission. He argued that it was unfair to point fingers at the institution, just because the order was not in favour of the state.

"Mr. Mehta appears for a bunch of institutions across the length and breadth of the country. The words that 'institution of judiciary has failed' have to be used carefully. Protection of the institution is foremost," Desai said.

The Court granted time to Mehta to peruse the application for in-camera hearing and respond at the next hearing date, set for August 31, 2021.

On May 21, the trial court had acquitted Tejpal of all charges including wrongful confinement, assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty, sexual harassment along with rape against his female colleague, which was challenged by the state of Goa. The state filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court challenging the acquittal order and seeking a retrial.

National Herald had earlier carried a detailed report on the grounds under which Tarun Tejpal was acquitted by a Goa court.

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Published: 10 Aug 2021, 6:24 PM