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Bombay HC issues notice to Tarun Tejpal on Goa govt's pea against acquittal in rape case

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Panaji, June 02: The Bombay High Court has issued notice to Tarun Tejpal in an appeal by the Goa government against his acquittal in the rape case. The court has also requisitioned all records from the trial court.

Tarun Tejpal

Justice S C 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 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 said the judgement also does not include the prosecution's case.

The HC also directed the registry department to call for all papers and other documents related to the case from the sessions court.

It (judgement) directly goes into the gist of the case and then the victim's evidence and statements of witnesses, Justice Gupte said.

"There is a prima facie case to consider the leave (permission) to appeal (against the acquittal). Issue notice to the respondent (Tejpal) returnable on June 24," the high court said.

A sessions court in Goa on May 21 acquitted Tejpal of all charges including sexually assaulting his then colleague in a lift of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013 when they were attending an event.

The 58-year-old former journalist was accused of raping a colleague in an elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa during a Tehelka magazine event in 2013.

According to the complainant, Tejpal raped the woman inside the lift of the hotel on November 7, 2013 and attempted to assault her again the next day. Tejpal, who refuted the charges in court and was subsequently acquitted, had been out on bail since 2014.

The Goa government seeks a re-trial based on the trial court's "lack of understanding of a victim's post-trauma behaviour". In its verdict, the court suggested that the woman did not behave in a manner consistent with a victim of sexual assault.

Goa govt challenges Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal's acquittal in sexual assault case in HCGoa govt challenges Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal's acquittal in sexual assault case in HC

"The trial court, in its 527-page-judgment, has been influenced by extraneous inadmissible materials and testimonies, graphic details of the past sexual history of the victim, prohibited by law, and has used the same for purposes of censuring her character, and discrediting her evidence. The entire judgment focusses on indicting the complainant witness rather than trying to ascertain the culpable role of the respondent accused (Tejpal)," the appeal read.

Tejpal had faced the trial under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376(2)(f) (person in a position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)k) (rape by a person in a position of control) of the Indian Penal Code.

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