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India: Tarun Tejpal case 'like a manual for sexual assault victims', court hears

Web report/Panjim
Filed on June 3, 2021
File photo

There was complete lack of sensitivity on the part of the lower court, state solicitor general says

The judgement of the sessions court in Goa, which acquitted Tarun Tejpal, the former editor of Tehelka in a case of rape and sexual assault was “a kind of manual for rape victims” on how they should conduct themselves, said a judge of the high court of the Goa bench of the Bombay high court.

The judge granted leave to appeal to the Goa government, which challenged last month’s judgement of the lower court. The case will be heard on June 24.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta who represented the state government told the high court that there was complete lack of sensitivity on the part of the lower court while acquitting Tejpal, who had been accused of raping and sexually assaulting his former colleague in a hotel elevator in Goa in November 2013. “One cannot make out if the victim is on trial or the accused,” he told the court.

According to him, the trial court judgement was replete with “shocking examples” of how a victim of sexual assault must conduct herself. Describing himself as a “feminist,” Mehta said the remarks of the judge were made as if being a feminist was a bad thing. “Since when does being a feminist have a negative connotation in this country?” he asked.

“I am flagging this issue because it will have pan-India ramifications. This judgment will be read all over the world and these lawyers will be defamed.”

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